More leasing activities are reported as the office market starts to pick up post-COVID-19. However, tenants are also very specific in their office space requirements.
By Khalil Adis
In May 2022, I secured my very first corporate leasing deal.
Although I was elated to finally secure a tenant for the landlord, it was not an easy process especially since the office market was affected by Covid-19.
I was faced with a challenging period when marketing the office space in late 2021 as Singapore was battling the delta variant then.
While interest in office space at first increased, the Omricon variant threw the wrench for potential tenants looking for office space in November 2021.
As a result, enquiries started to decrease until the early part of 2022.
Fast forward, a year ahead, the office leasing market appears to pick up steam as more employees returned to work.
Data from CBRE confirmed this showing strong positive office net absorption in the third quarter of 2022, bringing the year-to-date take-up to 0.56 million sq ft and surpassing the total take-up of 0.32 million sq ft for the whole of 2021.
“Key demand drivers are expansions by tech firms, flexible workspace operators and non-banking financial companies, which took up significant secondary office space in the Core CBD (Grade A). Fresh pre-commitments to upcoming new projects such as Guoco Midtown and Central Boulevard Towers were also inked during the quarter,” its research notes.
Broad-based demand in all micro markets
In addition to the growth sectors, CBRE notes that tenant displacement from planned redevelopments such as Clifford Centre and Robinson Point has also contributed to a broad-based recovery.
According to the firm, islandwide vacancy declined further to 4.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2022 from the previous high of 6.8 per cent from the same period last year.
“Despite hybrid working arrangements likely to stay, total leasing volume from renewals, new setups and expansion over the past three quarters has been resilient, a testament that physical office still plays an integral role in the workplace ecosystem,” CBRE’s research cites.
With more leasing activities reported in the third quarter, here are the five things corporate tenants look for in an office space.
#1: A prestigious address
From my experience, certain tenants, particularly those in the banking, real estate, energy, legal and tech sectors, would only look for a prestigious office address right in the CBD.
This is because their corporate image is important especially since they mostly deal with multinational companies and government agencies.
Some are also particular about the look and feel of the building’s main lobby as they may sometime hold meetings with important clients in their office.
Others cite improving their staff’s morale and confidence in the company when having a prestigious Grade A CBD address.
Accessibility is also a key consideration for corporate tenants as most of their staff rely on public transportation while some drive to work.
Therefore, being connected within walking distance to the MRT stations and expressways are important.
As the office unit that I was marketing is located within the CBD, accessibility is not an issue as it well-served by various train stations such as Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place MRT stations on the East-West and North-South Line, Chinatown, Telok Ayer MRT stations and Downtown on the Downtown Line as well as newly opened Maxwell and Shenton Way MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line.
The office building is also easily accessible via the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE), Central Expressway (CTE) and East Coast Parkway (ECP) for those who drive.
Amenities or the lack of them can either make or break an office leasing requirements for a corporate tenant.
Some of the important amenities they look for include banking, dining, hawker centres, clinics and car parking facilities.
I recall one particular tenant who insisted on having several car parking lots.
Unfortunately, due to the limited car parking space for season parking holders, this proved to be difficult.
If you require ample car parking space, then make sure you ask the agent in advance to check with the building management before asking for a viewing.
#4: A column-free space
A column-free space ranks highly as it enables the potential tenant to use the entire space efficiently.
This is from my experience when conducting viewings on the ground.
This is because such space offers them flexibility in how they would like to utilise the space just like drawing from a blank canvas.
You can ask the agent for a copy of the floor plan so you can plan the office planning with your interior designer.
With an increased emphasis on staff’s mental health and wellness, I noticed that corporate tenants now prefer office buildings that offer recreational facilities such as green, open spaces, gyms or swimming pools where their staff can feel relaxed.
As one potential tenant puts it, “when an office feels like home, our staff are more likely to be comfortable and productive at their workplace.
With many rental scams out there, here are the checks to protect yourself as a tenant.
By Khalil Adis
The September 2022 cooling measures will translate to a red-hot property market as ex-private property owners will now have to wait out a 15 months period before they can buy a resale HDB flat.
This means demand in the rental market for both both private properties and HDB flats will pick up in the coming months ahead.
Unfortunately, rental scams appear to also be on the rise.
According to the Singapore Police Force (SPF), there were at least 144 victims of such scams who had lost around S$190,000 since January 2022.
As the rental market heats up, scammers are taking advantage of the situation by posting fake listings on social media to lure unsuspecting tenants.
Such listings are often too good to be true, depicting beautiful apartments at bargain prices.
However, there is one catch.
In order to secure viewings, the bogus property agents will often ask potential tenants to transfer money.
This is where potential tenants may lose their monies.
They will also ask you to send a copy of your identification card to confirm your viewing.
Such requests are in fact dubious and not in line with market practice.
They may also open you to identity thefts.
4 due diligence checks that you must do as a tenant
To prevent yourself from being scammed, here are the four thing you must do:
#1: Do not transfer any monies for viewings
Instead, you should request for a physical viewing to verify that the property does indeed exist.
#2: Verify the agent is registered with Council for Estate Agencies (CEA)
If you are dealing with an agent, ask for the agent’s registration number. You can also check the agent’s details via CEA’s Public Register here.
#3: Ask for proof of ownership
Whether you are dealing with the agent or landlord, you should ask for proof of ownership of the rightful owner before transferring the earnest deposit.
The earnest deposit is usually transferred directly to the landlord’s bank account along with the Letter of Intent (for a private property rental).
For HDB flats and private properties, this can be done via INLIS here.
For HDB flats only, you can request for the proof of ownership via MY HDBPage.
If you are renting a property that is owned by a company, you should ask for their business profile or purchase it via BizFile here.
The address of the directors of the company must match the address as reflected in INLIS or MY HDBPage.
#4: Do not transfer monies to the agent
Under CEA’s guidelines, for rental of HDB flats, agents are not allowed to hold any monies.
The deposit is typically equivalent to one or two months rent for a 1- or 2-year lease respectively.
Upon signing the Tenancy Agreement, tenants will then have to transfer the one month’s advance rental.
Property prices are expected to correct in the months ahead which may favour buyers. Meanwhile, the rental market is expected to heat up further.
By Khalil Adis
On 30 September 2022, the Singapore government announced various property cooling measures that are aimed at ensuring prudent borrowing and moderating demand.
Indeed, the HDB Resale Price Index (RPI) and Private Property Index (PPI) as of the third quarter of 2022 are now at record highs at 168.1 and 187.8 points respectively.
This means that first-time homebuyers are finding both HDB flats and private properties to be severely unaffordable.
Meanwhile, potential sellers see this as an opportune time to profit from the red-hot property market.
With this in mind, the government has had to intervene to ensure property prices remain affordable and are in tandem with wages.
The measures include the following four-pronged approach:
How they may impact you as a consumer:
For point 1, you will have to have a higher monthly combined income and pay a higher monthly mortgage and combined income .
However, the actual interest rates charged will be determined by the private financial institutions.
For point 2, the stress test has been increased to 3 per cent when calculating your monthly mortgage but with a reduced Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit at 80 per cent.
This is to ensure your monthly mortgage remains affordable and within the 30 per cent Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR).
On the overall, with a higher downpayment of 20 per cent, it will result in a lower mortgage payment when compared to an LTV limit of 85 per cent.
However, this will not affect the actual HDB concessionary interest rate, which will remain unchanged at 2.6 per cent per annum.
For point 3, buyers will need to come up with a higher cash and/or CPF amount (an increase of 5 per cent) to make up the 20 per cent downpayment.
For example, for an $500,000 HDB flat, you will need to come up with $100,000 (80 per cent LTV) as opposed to $75,000 (85 per cent LTV).
This means an additional cash and/or CPF outlay of $25,000.
For point 4, this will mean sellers will have to rent either an HDB flat or private property during the interim period.
This will result in increased demand in the rental market which will push asking prices further.
According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), rentals of private residential properties had increased by 8.6 per cent in the third quarter to reach 137.9 points from 127.0 points in the second quarter of 2022.
Meanwhile, HDB rentals have increased by around 30 per cent.
Looking ahead, the rental market is expected to strengthen further which will favour landlords.
For buyers who are looking to buy a resale HDB flat or private property, you might want to wait out until their prices correct.
For sellers, you only have a small window period to take advantage of the exuberant market before it cools in the coming months.
For landlords, the market will favour you due to increasing demand from existing tenants and ex-private property owners who have already sold their homes.
For tenants, you will have to set aside more budget as rentals have now increased by around 30 per cent.
The unit received several offers signifying a robust rental market.
By Khalil Adis
A 2-bedroom unit at The Paterson Edge has been successfully tenanted at an above average median price when compared to similar sized units.
Data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed that 17 2-bedroom units at The Paterson Edge were transacted at an average price of $4,501 per month from January to June 2022.
The highest transacted price was $6,151 per month in March 2022 followed by $6,000 per month in May 2022.
Measuring 990 sq ft, the unit received several offers signifying a robust rental market.
Situated within walking distance to the shopping belt of Orchard Road and right opposite the upcoming Orchard MRT station via the Thomson East Coast Line (TEL), The Paterson Edge is located in a prestigious neighbourhood.
A low-density development that has often been described as a "doll house”, The Paterson Edge offers discerning families or individuals a quiet, private retreat while being a stone throw's away to luxury boutiques, high-end stores, shopping malls, supermarkets and top-notch medical centres.
This mid-floor unit is located at the corner to ensure the utmost privacy.
The unit comes with Miele refrigerator & freezer, Miele cooker hood/hob, built in refrigerator & freezer, built in conventional oven, built in wardrobe, curtains and blackouts, roller blinds and energy saving lighting features.
The unit has been property maintained and is in good condition.
Facilities at The Paterson Edge include a swimming pool, gym, covered carpark and 24-hour security
Data from Squarefoot showed that the transacted price is the highest so far for SBF Center and along Robinson Road.
By Khalil Adis
Two office units at SBF Center were transacted for $8 per sq ft per month in May 2022 or at $16,500 per month.
According to data from Squarefoot, the median rental for SBF Center is $7.18 per sq ft per month while the historical rental along Robinson Road ranges from $6.5 per sq ft per month in January 2022 to $7.18 per sq ft per month in May 2022.
This means the office units were the highest price transacted so far for SBF Center and along Robinson Road.
The units face Cecil Street with an awe-inspiring view of the conserved shophouses of Tanjong Pagar, office buildings and the nearby Raffles Place CBD.
Grade A office rents in the CBD projected to grow by 4.6 per cent
With the government now mandating that starting from 1 January 2022, fully vaccinated employees can return to work, demand for Grade A office space is now slowly returning to pre-pandemic level.
A report released in February 2022 by Cushman and Wakefield predicts that Grade A office rents in the Central Business District (CBD) will grow.
“The Singapore office market bottomed out in 2021 as demand continues to recover amidst a flight to quality. Looking ahead, Singapore’s CBD Grade A office rents are projected to grow by 4.6 per cent year-on-year with vacancy rates tightening to below 4 per cent by end-2022, against a backdrop of projected sustained demand of 0.9 million sq ft (msf) and limited supply of 0.8 msf this year,” said Wong Xian Yang, head of research, Singapore at Cushman & Wakefield.
Data from Cushman and Wakefield also showed that Grade A and B office spaces are seeing growths after six consecutive quarters of decline since the first quarter of 2020, although this was still lower than the growth that was recorded before the pandemic began.
“CBD Grade A office rents rose by 1.7 per cent quarter-to-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2021, marking three consecutive quarters of growth. For the whole of 2021, CBD Grade A rents grew 2.3 per cent year-on-year to reach $9.81 per sq ft per month, although this remains about 8.0 per cent below pre-pandemic (fourth quarter of 2019) levels,” its report cites.
The latest mixed-use property launch that is located in the Rest of Central Region (RCR), Piccadilly Grand offers the benefits of living close to the city but at the Outside Central Region's (OCR) entry price.
By Khalil Realtor
Piccadilly Grand is the latest launch for 2022 that is located in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) in District 8 with direct access to Farrer Park MRT station via the North East Line (NEL).
Located at the doorstep of the vibrant Little India district, this 99-year leasehold mixed-use development will comprise 407 residential units ranging from one- to five-bedrooms with commercial units on the first storey.
According to URA Space, Piccadilly Grand sits on site area of 8,732.9 sq m with a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 36,679 sq m with a gross plot ratio of 4.2.
How Piccadilly Grand compares with similar properties in the vicinity
As a fair comparison, we will compare Piccadilly Grand with SOHO 188 as it is the closest private residential property located within the vicinity.
Data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), showed that the average transacted price per sq ft for SOHO 188 was $1,626 in August 2021.
With an estimated indicative price starting from around $1,950 per sq ft, Piccadilly Grand is priced at around 20 per cent higher when compared to SOHO 188.
When compared to the average price entry price for a two-bedroom unit at Pasir Ris 8 at $2.050 per sq ft, Piccadilly Grand appears to offer an attractive OCR price for an RCR project.
Data from URA also showed the indicative average rental range for SOHO 188 is around $4.49 per sq ft per month.
For a one-bedroom (484 sq ft) unit priced at $1,950 per sq ft, the unit quantum price translates to $943,800.
Based on a rental of $4.49 per sq ft per month, the expected rental is around $2,173.16.
Based on our calculation, the estimated rental yield will work out to the following:
$2,173.16 x 12 / $943,800 x 100 = 2.76 per cent
Here are eight compelling reasons to invest in Piccadilly Grand:
#1: Established developer with a good track record
When it comes to buying a property, the track record of the developer can make or break a project.
However, that is not the case for Piccadilly Grand as it will be developed jointly by City Developments Limited (CDL) and MCL Land.
CDL is one of Singapore’s leading global real estate companies with projects spanning from residential to commercial.
Listed on the Singapore Exchange, CDL is considered one of the largest companies by market capitalisation.
CDL prides itself as an income-stable with a geographically-diverse portfolio that comprises residences, offices, hotels, serviced apartments, shopping malls and integrated developments.
Their latest residential project that was launched last year is Canninghill Piers.
Meanwhile, MCL Land is a leading residential developer whose notable developments include The Estuary, UBER 388, Este Villa, Terrasse, Palms @ Sixth Avenue, Hallmark Residences, Ripple Bay, J Gateway, LakeVille, Sol Acres, Lake Grande, Margaret Ville, Parc Esta and Leedon Green.
MCL Land prides itself on establishing a legacy of building quality homes in both Singapore and Malaysia over the past 50 years.
#2: Integrated development
Data from URA Space showed that Piccadilly Grand is zoned for residential use with commercial units on the first storey.
With a gross plot ratio of 4.2, Piccadilly Grand will span three blocks of 23-storey where investors and residents can look forward to a plethora of lifestyle options such as retail, food & beverage and childcare centre all under one roof.
Connected directly to Farrer Park MRT station, residents can enjoy seamless connectivity to the rest of the island.
We will discuss this in detail in the next paragraph.
#3: Connected to Farrer Park MRT station
URA’s master plan shows that Piccadilly Grand will be directly connected to Farrer Park MRT station via Exit E.
Whether you are working in the Central Business District, Changi Region, Greater Southern Waterfront, Jurong Lake District, Punggol Digital District or Woodlands Regional Centre, Piccadilly Grand connects you to these major economic hubs.
From here, residents can hop onto the NEL and then transfer to the Downtown Line (DTL) one stop away at Little India MRT station, the North-South Line (NSL) two stops away at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, the Circle Line (CRL) four stops away at Serangoon MRT station, the East West Line (EWL) and the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) five stops away at Outram Park MRT station.
Such ease of commute will make the property highly desirable and convenient for owner-occupiers and prospective tenants.
#4: Near several good schools
Distance requirements are dictated by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and these will affect your children’s priority admission to nearby schools.
According to the MOE, priority is given to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who live closer to the preferred school when balloting.
You may check the full requirements here.
Parents with school-going children will be pleased to know that several notable good schools are located within 2 km from Piccadilly Grand.
Here are the full lists of primary and secondary schools:
#5: At the doorstep of the Little India Arts Belt
Steeped in local culture and tradition, Singapore’s Little India is an ethnic enclave that exudes a hip, bohemian vibe while preserving its authentic Indian identity.
Home to many trendy cafes and traditional Indian restaurants, Little India boasts street-style shops selling flowers, garlands, spices and fresh produce.
Lined with rows and rows of colourful shophouses and murals, the area comes alive on weekends and during Deepavali when crowds will throng the area for festive shopping.
Little India also boasts an arts belt on Kerbau Road where several local performing arts companies call these vibrant shophouses home.
For a truly authentic Indian cultural and dining experience, Little India offers a plethora of Indian restaurants serving curry on banana leaves topped with crispy naan bread or rice with a glass of refreshing lime juice or lassi.
#6: Various amenities nearby
Speaking of Little India, the Tekka Market, located within Tekka Centre, is conveniently sited next to Little India MRT station where you can find the freshest produce and ingredients for your wet market shopping.
For delicious local cuisines, head to the Tekka Food Centre located at the back of the building where you can find a variety of affordable hawker fares to suit your taste buds.
Meanwhile, at the other end of Little India is Mustafa Centre, located on Syed Alwi Road, which is popular among the bargain-hunting crowd.
A favourite haunt among locals and tourists alike, Mustafa Centre is where you can find anything and everything under one roof.
Known for its chaotic atmosphere, Mustafa Centre boasts a selection of luxury goods, jewellery, perfumes, clothing and even a supermarket spanning two buildings at extremely competitive pricing.
Best of all, it is open 24 hours a day.
Recently, one of the buildings for Mustafa Centre (facing Farrer Park MRT station) has been newly refurbished and renamed Centrium Square offering consumers even more shopping options.
For a family-friendly experience, pop over to City Square Mall located just across Mustafa Centre.
Owned and managed by CDL, City Square Mall enjoys direct access to Farrer Park MRT station and features over 450,000 sq ft of net lettable area, spread over five retail levels, two basements and four levels of lifestyle services.
Some of its key anchor tenants include NTUC Fairprice, Mc Donald’s and Challenger Mini.
Top-notch healthcare is available right opposite Piccadilly Grand at Farrer Park Hospital.
This private hospital integrates current developments in medical technology and treatments in its hospital design and architecture to better serve patients.
Offering a myriad of services from Anesthesiology to Sports Medicine, the hospital comes with a medical centre attached to it.
This is part of a lifestyle concept that combines healthcare and hospitality.
Like Piccadilly Grand, the hospital enjoys direct access to Farrer Park MRT station via Exit C.
Meanwhile, the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital is within 5 minutes drive from Piccadilly Grand.
Founded in 1858, the hospital has since then evolved into a leader in Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Neonatology.
Offering 830 beds, the hospital is also a referral centre providing tertiary services to manage high-risk conditions in women and children.
Equipped with a team of about 500 specialists, they adopt a compassionate, multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to treatment, and harness the latest medical innovations and technology to deliver the best medical care possible.
#8: URA Master Plan
The URA has made a concerted effort to preserve the unique culture and heritage of Little India.
According to its latest master plan, certain pockets and spaces within the historic area have been earmarked to preserve the local arts, culture and heritage.
For instance, URA's Project Oasis Little India (POLI) has transformed the vacant state land into public spaces where the community can come together for activities organised by Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA).
Meanwhile, the charming heritage buildings at Chitty/ Veerasamy Road and Hindoo Road have been earmarked for refurbishment and repurposement with innovative uses, that activate public spaces and plug gaps in pedestrian experience along Kampong Kapor Road.
As such, investors can anticipate such regenerative project led by the government to have a potentially positive impact for the capital appreciation for Piccadilly Grand.
Strong correlation seen between transacted property price and remaining lease.
By Khalil Realtor
Since the Lee Kuan Yew era, Singaporeans have been ingrained with the idea that our HDB flat is an asset. While you can make a profit from your HDB flat, this depends on the lease that is remaining on your property. Based on our research and analysis, we found that HDB flats in older estates with a remaining lease of fewer than 60 years saw their property values diminish. Meanwhile, those that have around 80 years of lease left were able to fetch far higher prices. This is according to data captured on HDB’s website.
On the other end of the spectrum, HDB flats that are located in newer estates did not see that much price variation. In conducting this study, we had looked into HDB transactions for 4-room flats that were recorded between January 2021 to January 2022 and then compared it with the remaining lease. The estates chosen included the mature estates of Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio as well as the non-mature HDB estates of Punggol and Jurong West.
Here are some quick snapshots based on our findings.
#1: Toa Payoh: Older HDB flats changed hands at lower prices
When it comes to buying an HDB flat, most Singaporeans will prefer to buy in a mature estate such as in Toa Payoh or Ang Mo Kio. However, if you have a flat that with a remaining lease of fewer than 54 years this may have an impact on your resale value. According to data captured on HDB’s website, there were 302 transactions for 4-room HDB flats in Toa Payoh during this period.
The data showed a strong correlation between the price versus the remaining lease. For instance, older HDB flats (71) with 54 years or less of the remaining lease were transacted at an average price of S$395,787. Meanwhile, newer HDB flats (114) with 80 to 95 years of the remaining lease were transacted at an average price of S$725,032. This represents a price difference of 83.2 per cent.
#2: Ang Mo Kio: Newer HDB flats fetched higher selling prices
Ang Mo Kio is also another favourite estate among buyers explaining why Built-To-Order (BTO) launches have always been oversubscribed. Like Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio also witnessed a strong correlation between price versus the remaining lease. According to data captured on HDB’s website, there were 297 transactions for 4-room HDB flats in the estate during this period. Newer HDB flats (57) with 80 to 95 years of the remaining lease were transacted at an average price of S$683,937.
On the other hand, older HDB flats (216) with 59 years or less of the remaining lease were transacted at an average price of S$438,143. This represents a price difference of 56.1 per cent.
#3: Punggol: A non-mature estate where capital values experience fewer fluctuations
Punggol is a non-mature estate with a relatively young population. While it may seem far-flung, Punggol is among the top ten estates in Singapore where HDB resale homes have changed hands.
According to data captured on HDB’s website, there were 1,486 transactions for 4-room HDB flats in the estate during this period. The remaining lease in Punggol ranges from 79 to 95 years.
As such, there is not much price variation as seen in the case of Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio. For example, HDB flats (232) with between 82 to 89 years of the remaining lease were transacted at an average price of S$400,862. Meanwhile, newer HDB flats (1,254) with 90 years or more of the remaining lease were transacted at an average price of S$503,186. This represents a price difference of 25.5 per cent.
This suggests that newer estates like Punggol may be ideal if you want to protect the capital values of your property.
#4 Jurong West: A semi-mature estate with a price gap similar to Punggol
Jurong West is a semi-mature area and as such the remaining lease here is between 47 and 95 years. According to data captured on HDB’s website, there were 571 transactions for 4-room HDB flats in the estate during this period. Similar to Punggol, there is not much price variation as seen in the case of Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio.
For example, HDB flats (179) with less than 70 years of the remaining lease were transacted at an average price of S$395,934. Meanwhile, newer HDB flats (100) with 90 years or more of the remaining lease were transacted at an average price of S$535,366. This represents a price difference of 35.2 per cent.
#5 Price gap is widest in Toa Payoh
Toa Payoh makes an interesting case study. We decided to zoom into this estate as property agents have long complained that they have had a hard time selling older HDB flats in the area. Our analysis seems to concur with our findings on the ground when speaking to agents as they appear to diminish in value nearing the end of the lease. In the case of Toa Payoh, the price gap is a whopping 83.2 per cent compared to Ang Mo Kio, Jurong West , and Punggol at 56.1 per cent, 35.2 per cent and 25.5 per cent respectively.
Summary: Capital values appear to be better protected in non-mature estates
While HDB is an asset, older HDB flats in mature estates will likely see their value decline as the data showed. As such, prospective homebuyers might want to think twice before purchasing such flats. On the other hand, the data suggests that the capital values of your HDB flat are better protected in non-mature estates like Punggol and Jurong West. As such, you may want to consider selling your property after five years once you have fulfilled your MOP and then upgrade to private property or downsize according to your lifestyle needs.
Having said that, I would like to stress that your HDB flats are for long-term occupation and not for you to make a quick profit. In closing, housing is a delicate issue. The government will need to address their diminishing value sensitively especially to the older generation who are currently living in mature estates.
First-time homebuyers will see marginal impact while multiple property investors will have to pay a higher ABSD rate.
By Khalil Realtor
On 16 December 2021, the Ministry for National Development (MND) announced a slew of cooling measures in the property market.
Targeted mainly towards multiple property owners and foreign purchases, the measures are aimed to moderate property prices in both the resale HDB and private property markets to ensure they are in tandem with wages.
Therefore, first-time homebuyers are less likely to be impacted.
We list down 5 ways the cooling measures may impact you
#1: Higher downpayment for HDB flats
If you are taking an HDB loan, do note that the Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit has been increased from 90 per cent to 85 per cent.
This means you will need to prepare 15% in cash and/or CPF for your downpayment.
However, if you are taking a bank loan, the LTV limit remains unchanged.
You can still get up to 75 per cent financing with 5 per cent downpayment in cash and 20 per cent in cash and/or CPF.
#2: No change for ABSD for first-time homebuyers
If you are a first-time Singapore Citizen homebuyer, good news!
The Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) remains unchanged at 0 per cent.
Likewise, for first-time Singapore Permanent Resident buyers, the ABSD remains unchanged at 5 per cent.
However, for foreigners buying a residential property in Singapore, they will have to pay 30 per cent ABSD.
#3: Higher ABSD rate for second-time homebuyers
For Singapore Citizens buying their second property, the ABSD rate has now been increased from 12 per cent to 17 per cent.
Likewise, for Singapore Permanent Residents buying their second property, the ABSD rate has now been increased from 15 per cent to 25 per cent.
For foreigners buying any number of residential property in Singapore, they will have to pay 30 per cent ABSD.
#4: Higher ABSD rate for third and subsequent homebuyers
For Singapore Citizens buying their third and subsequent property, the ABSD rate has now been increased from 15 per cent to 25 per cent.
Likewise, for Singapore Permanent Residents buying their third and subsequent property, the ABSD rate has now been increased from 15 per cent to 30 per cent.
For foreigners buying any number of residential property in Singapore, they will have to pay 30 per cent ABSD.
#5: Higher TDSR threshold at 55 per cent
When purchasing a private property, you will be subjected to the Total Debt Service Ratio (TDSR).
The TDSR has now been reduced from 60 per cent to 55 per cent.
Your TDSR should be less than or equal to 55 per cent.
The TDSR formula is as follows:
(Borrower's total monthly debt obligations / Borrower's gross monthly income) x 100%
Assuming you have a total mostly debt of $1,000, this is your TDSR:
$1,000/$10,000 x 100% = 10%
If you wish to purchase a private property, it will be wise to pare down your existing debt obligations to below 55 per cent so that you will not be overly leveraged.
If you are thinking of buying a second property but are concerned about paying a higher ABSD rate, you may consider decoupling.
This frees up your spouse’s name to buy a property solely under their name.
However, do note that decoupling is not allowed for HDB flats.
The legal fees can be quite exorbitant (up to $10,000).
A Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD) of up to 4 per cent will apply for the shares that were sold to the other party.
You may also be liable to pay for Seller's Stamp Duty (SSD).
#2: Buying under a trust
You may also consider buying a property under a trust arrangement.
This is a relatively expensive option that is common among the wealthy.
A trust is an arrangement that authorises a trustee to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary (or beneficiaries).
The beneficiary shall have an equitable interest in the trust assets.
The trustee has the responsibility to manage the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
You can buy a private property under trust and list your child as the beneficiary.
However, the property must be paid for in cash.
There is no ABSD payable
Punggol is one of the most sought after districts for HDB resale flats and private properties. Here are the lowdowns you should take note of when buying a property here.
By Khalil Realtor
Punggol has indeed come a long way from being an ‘ulu’ area.
Once known as a rural settlement complete with kampungs and farms, Punggol has since 1998 transformed itself from a backwater area to a vibrant, modern yet green satellite district.
Amid Punggol’s oasis of calm, you can see LRT trains whirring through the residential areas, passing by the ample lush natural landscape before taking you directly to the heart of the district, Punggol Central.
While Punggol’s rustic charms may appeal to outdoor lovers, there are certain downsides about living here.
Here are the pros and cons of buying a property in Punggol:
#1: It’s oh so quiet
Punggol has an estimated population of 174,450 as of 2019 with a projected 96,000 housing units once the entire "Punggol 21-plus” master plan is completed.
Despite its high density, Punggol is surprisingly very quiet at night save for the traffic whizzing by the Tampines Expressway (TPE).
This is definitely good news for those wanting some peace and quiet but bad news if you want the buzz of city life.
If you still want to move to Punggol, fret not as Waterway Point has all the modern conveniences and amenities for your city living.
#2: Well landscaped parks and gardens
Nature and outdoor lovers will revel in the many landscaped parks and gardens that Punggol has to offer, including the award-winning My Waterway@Punggol.
From the Matilda District, you can enjoy a stroll or jog by the Punggol River before reaching Punggol Dam and Punggol Point.
This is part of the comprehensive Park Connector Network (PCN) linking the entire island.
The view is awe-inspiring and enough to make even the laziest couch potato get up and explore nature.
#3: Properties here are in demand
Being a relatively new township development with a young demographic, Punggol has proven to be popular among homebuyers as a few HDB housing projects are now eligible to be sold in the resale market.
According to the third quarter of 2021 data from the HDB, the Resale Price Index (RPI) increased by 2.9 per cent, from 146.4 points in the second quarter to 150.6 points in the fourth quarter in 2021.
On the overall, resale statistics from the HDB showed that the median prices of three, four and five-room flats were transacted at S$395,000, S$498,400 and S$600,000 respectively in the third quarter of 2021.
In comparison, in the fourth quarter of 2018, they were transacted at S$343,000, S$455,000 and S$445,000 respectively.
This shows a healthy demand and capital appreciation of HDB flats in Punggol.
#4: Comprehensive public transport network
Commuting in and around Punggol is very convenient as there is a comprehensive transport network comprising MRT, LRT and buses.
In fact, the township has been planned such that each housing estate is located within 300 m away from any LRT station.
An exception, however, is the new housing area at the Matilda district.
#5: Punggol Digital District
Come 2023, a new smart city is set to rise in Punggol called the Punggol Digital District. Housing technology firms involved in key growth fields as well as the new Singapore Institute of Technology Campus, Punggol Digital District will create around 28,000 jobs while providing residents with more lifestyle and dining options.
In the pipeline includes the new Punggol Coast MRT Station which will be an extension of the North-East Line and the upgrading of the Punggol MRT station to an interchange station to connect to the Cross-Island Line (CRL).
Punggol Digital District will also enjoy enhanced connectivity via the CRL which will link it to Jurong Lake District and Changi by around 2030.
Collectively, they will act as property boosters for Punggol.
#6: Lack of good hawker food
Food. That’s our favourite national past time that defines if we love or hate or neighbourhood.
Having lived in Taman Jurong, I must say I was spoilt for choice with various options of mouth-watering hawker fares such as the famous Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak.
However, the choices have become extremely limited in Punggol unless you are into fast food.
While there are coffee shops serving local cuisines, they pale in comparison to the well-established hawker fares that you can find elsewhere.
You are better off cooking your own meals.
If you hate spring cleaning, be prepared for a rude shock.
With many construction works going on, you will find yourself dusting up every single day.
Windows, top of shelves, cupboards and other surfaces collect dust easily.
This certainly isn’t good news if you are asthmatic or are prone to allergies.
If so, you might want to invest in a good ioniser to keep your indoor air free of particles and other irritants.
#8: Get ready to jostle with the early morning crowd
If you think Singaporeans are a kiasu lot, be prepared to see that word taken to new heights when you commute to work in the morning.
In fact, many would play ‘musical chairs’ as they hustle for seats at on the MRT.
Meanwhile, getting a Grab or taxi would be almost impossible.
#9: That acrid smell in the air
While Punggol may be planned as a green township development, be prepared for a strong burning smell that would emanate from time to time.
Located just opposite the industrial area of Pasir Gudang, Johor, the smell has become increasingly acrid over the past few days that it will linger from night till dawn.
In fact, it can get so bad that you might have to get up in the middle of the night to close the windows.
#10: Noise pollution from aeroplanes
Having lived in Punggol for almost four years, I would say my biggest gripe is the noise pollution every morning from the military aeroplanes and jet-fighters flying over the neighbourhood from Paya Lebar Airbase.
They would start as early as 8am at 5 minutes interval.
This is enough to disrupt your sleep especially if you intend to sleep in on a weekday.
This is something perhaps developers and HDB will not tell you.
According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), condominiums in Punggol experienced the most capital appreciation over 5 years in District 19 while Serangoon is the worst faring neighbourhood. Read on to find out more.
By Khalil Realtor
If you are a condominium owner in Punggol, this may be the right time to sell your property.
This is because condominiums in Punggol enjoyed the highest capital appreciation in District 19, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed.
According to resale transactions that we had analysed based from 2016 and up to 15 September 2021, condominiums in Punggol enjoyed the highest capital appreciation at 23.54 per cent.
This is higher than the average growth that was recorded in the entire District 19.
Coming second place are condominiums that are located in Hougang which saw a capital appreciation of 15.29 per cent followed by Sengkang at 10.88 per cent.
The worst faring area is Serangoon which recorded a depreciation of 6.75 per cent over the same period.
On the overall, District 19 saw 1,146 resale transactions at a median transacted price of $1,174.50 per sq ft in 2021.
This represents a capital appreciation of 19.14 per cent over five years when compared to the 168 resale transactions recorded in 2016 at a median transacted price of $985.82 per sq ft.
Let’s take a look in detail how each area have performed so far.
Despite its far-flung location, Punggol is the top performer in District 19.
In 2016, 14 condominium units had changed hands.
This comprises four units at River Isles and 10 units at A Treasure Trove that were transacted at a median price of $843 per sq ft and $995.20 per sq ft respectively.
For the entire Punggol, the median transaction price recorded in 2016 was $919.10 per sq ft.
Meanwhile, in 2021, a total of 189 condominiums were sold at a median price of $1,135.47 per sq ft.
Watertown is the most popular condominium and where the highest median price was recorded with 52 units sold at a median price of $1,372.37 per sq ft.
This was followed by A Treasure Trove with 47 units transacted at a median price of $1,075.62 per sq ft, representing a capital appreciation of 8.08 per cent over five years.
Third in place is Flo Residence with 36 units changing hands at a median price of $971.17 per sq ft - the lowest recorded in Punggol.
The fourth most popular condominium project is River Isles which saw 29 units sold at a median price of $1,010.64 per sq ft.
When compared to 2016’s transaction data, this represents an increase of 19.88 per cent.
Lastly, 25 units at Parc Centros were transacted at a median price of $1,2471.56 per sq ft.
With the upcoming Punggol Coast MRT station, 7.3 kilometre Cross Island Line (CRL) – Punggol Extension and the Punggol Digital District, we can expect demand for condominiums to remain robust in Punggol.
Hougang is a mature township with plenty of good schools, amenities and delicious local hawker food located within the neighbourhood.
Thus, it is no wonder it is one of the most sought after townships in District 19 ranking second in place in terms of capital appreciation.
In 2016, a total of 39 units were sold at a median price of $1,012.24 per sq ft.
The Minton leads the way with 11 units sold at a median price of $1,091 per sq ft, followed by Kovan Residences (six units sold at a median price of $1,114.17 per sq ft), Kovan Regency and Kovan Melody (five units each sold at a median price of $1,304 per sq ft and $1,017 per sq ft respectively), Terrasse (four units sold at a median price of $1,006 per sq ft), Parc Vera (two units sold at a median price of $956 per sq ft), Central View (two units sold at a median price of $878 per sq ft), Bliss @ Kovan (one unit sold at a median price of $1,386 per sq ft), Palm Haven (one unit sold at a median price of $654 per sq ft) and The Waterline (one unit sold at a median price of $654 per sq ft).
Meanwhile, in 2021, a total of 169 condominiums were sold at a median price of $1,167.03 per sq ft.
Again, The Minton is the most popular condominium with 53 units sold at a median price of $1,115.13 per sq ft.
This represents a price appreciation of 2.21 per cent over five years.
Second in place is Kovan Residences (22 units sold at a median price of $1,477.36 per sq ft), representing a price appreciation of 32.60 per cent over the same period.
Tied in third place are Kovan Melody and Kovan Regency (21 units each sold at a median price of $1,186.86 and $1,448.67 per sq ft respectively) with a capital appreciation of 16.70 per cent and 11.09 per cent respectively when compared to 2016.
The fourth bestselling project was Parc Vera with 15 units sold at a median price of $1,028.47 per sq ft, representing a price appreciation of 7.58 per cent over the same period.
This was followed Terrasse where 12 units were transacted at a median price of $1,084 per sq ft in 2021 - a capital appreciation of 7.75 per cent over the same period.
When compared to the median transacted price of $1,012.24 per sq ft in 2016, Hougang witnessed price appreciation of 15.29 per cent ($1,167.03 per sq ft in 2021) over five years, earning it second place.
By 2030, this could go higher as Hougang MRT station will be upgraded to an interchange station with the CRL.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) anticipates more than 100,000 households will benefit from this new line which will make Hougang even more attractive for investors.
Just across the Tampines Expressway (TPE) from Punggol is Sengkang.
Served by two MRT stations (Buangkok and Sengkang) and a network of LRT stations, Sengkang is considered the most populous planning area in the North-East Region.
In 2016, a total of 12 units had changed hands at a median transacted price of $965.79 per sq ft.
Leading the pack is The Quartz (seven units sold at a median price of $877.86 per sq ft), followed by The Luxurie (four units sold at a median price of $1,123.50 per sq ft) and Riversound Residence (one unit sold at a median price of $962 per sq ft).
Meanwhile, in 2021, a total of 169 condominiums were sold at a median price of $1,135.47 per sq ft.
La Fiesta is the most popular condominium with 55 units sold at a median price of $1,263.53 per sq ft followed by Flo Residence with 36 units changing hands at a median price of $971.17 per sq ft.
Third in place is The Luxurie (34 units sold at a median price of $1,167.88 per sq ft). When compared to 2016, it saw a capital appreciation of 3.95 per cent.
This was followed by Riversound Residence where 28 units were transacted at a median price of $1,001.11 per sq ft (a capital appreciation of 4.07 per cent), and Jewel @ Buangkok (27 units at a median price of $1,326.11 per sq ft).
Fifth in place is The Quartz and Rivervale Crest where 24 units each were transacted at a median price of $1,026.71 and $753.88 per sq ft in 2021.
For The Quartz, this represents a price appreciation of 16.97 per cent over five years.
For the entire Sengkang area, the median transacted price in 2021 is $1,070.91 per sq ft, representing a price appreciation of 10.88 per cent since 2016.
By 2040, a new MRT station may be added to Sengkang which will improve its connectivity further to the rest of the island.
According to Land Transport Master Plan 2040, there is a possibility that an eighth MRT line will run from Woodlands to the Greater Southern Waterfront with a station passing through Sengkang.
Estimated to be about 30 km long, the line will potentially benefit 400,000 households, if the plan were to materialise.
This could uplift property prices further.
Though Serangoon is located closer to the city and is served by Serangoon MRT interchange station that connects to the Circle Line and North East Line, the private property sector lags behind those of Punggol, Sengkang and Hougang.
In fact, it is the only area in District 19 that recorded negative growth.
In 2016, a total of 20 units were sold at a median price of $1,113.48 per sq ft.
Chiltern Park is the most popular project (seven units sold at a median price of $989 per sq ft), followed by Cardiff Residence (four units sold at a median price of $1,308.2 per sq ft), Casia Cambio and Chuan Park (three units each sold at a median price of $1,420.66 and $752.67 per sq ft respectively) and Casa Rosa (one unit sold at a median price of $837 per sq ft).
In 2021, a total of 73 units were sold, comprising 27 units at Boathouse Residences (at a median price of $1,049.26 per sq ft), 12 units at Cardiff Residence (at a median price of $1,301.33 per sq ft), nine units at Chiltern Park (at a median price of $1,054.44 per sq ft), seven units each at Casa Cambio and Cherryhill (at a median price of $1,366.42 and $1,105.86 per sq ft respectively), five units at Amaranda Gardens (at a median price of $1,492 per sq ft), four units at Chuan Park (at a median price of $1,013.25 per sq ft) and two units at Casa Rosa (at a median price of $1,005.50 per sq ft).
When compared to 2016, Cardiff Residence, Chiltern Park and Casa Cambio witnessed a price depreciation of 0.53, 30.24 and 3.97 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, Casa Rosa, Cherryhill and Chuan Park saw a price appreciation of 20.13, 11.82 and 34.62 per cent respectively.
For the entire Serangoon area, the median transaction price in 2021 was $1,043.12 per sq ft, representing a capital depreciation of 6.75 per cent over 5 years.
Under the URA Master Plan 2019, the URA envisages Serangoon Central to be “the heart of the North East region with excellent connectivity via the North-East Line, Circle Line, and Serangoon Bus Interchange.”
However, there are no plans so far for Serangoon’s rejuvenation nor any new infrastructure developments under the master plan.
This could be a dealbreaker for property investors looking for potential upsides.
Based on our analysis, it may be an opportune time to either sell your condominium or invest in one in Punggol.
This is because there are potentially new upsides arising from the completion of the Punggol Digital District, Punggol Coast MRT station and the upgraded Punggol MRT interchange station to the CRL.
The URA Draft Master Plan 2019 anticipates Punggol Digital District to be a new smart city by 2023 that will create around 28,000 jobs.
The innovation hub is expected to house technology firms involved in key growth fields as well as the new Singapore Institute of Technology Campus.
That’s not all.
The LTA expects the new Punggol Coast MRT station to provide enhanced connectivity to the rest of the island via the CRL which will link Punggol Digital District to Jurong Lake District and Changi by around 2030.
Collectively, all these infrastructure projects are expected to have a positive spillover impact for Punggol.
Interested to sell your condominium or buy one in Punggol? I’m here to help. Contact me for a non-obligatory chat.
A regular contributor for PropertyGuru Singapore's AskGuru column, Khalil has his fingers right on the pulse of Singapore's vibrant real estate market.
© 2021 KHALIL REALTOR. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.