It's always about property.
Ask almost any Singaporean and the topic of property is almost guaranteed to be on their mind.
It doesn't matter whether they're looking to buy their first BTO, purchase a resale flat, or even break into the luxurious private condominium arena.
The fact is, the Singapore property market scene affects almost everyone, locals and foreigners included.
So, when news of property prices soaring in neighbouring countries reaches our shores, the topic naturally lights up and stays abuzz for a long time.
Such was the case when the Straits Times reported Hong Kong homeowners are a minority in their country now.
No surprises then that this news had a tremendous effect on the local Singapore population, especially since both countries are seen almost as parallel, both being a city state, both being a small nation, and both constantly facing land shortage concerns.
So, when news that Hong Kong is facing a housing shortage for their citizen pops up, the sleeping sentiment is forced to awake.
A Shocking Trend In Recent New Launches
This is hardly the first time we're looking at the property market, but given the huge hype it's been receiving all year, it's natural our team is keeping a close watch as the market develops.
And what we discovered is, many home buyers and investors have come to believe new launch condominium prices are flying sky high, with no intention to rest.
On the most part, thankfully, HDB buyers will not have to confront this giant as there are restrictions in place to prevent public housing from skyrocketing without control.
But for the affluent, or those tethering on that line, this is but a hurdle they have to face head on.
Thus, to have a fairer comparison, we decided to look at 3 different new launches in 3 different areas of Singapore.
First up, is by renowned property developer, Guocoland and their mixed development in the heart of disctrict 01, Tanjong Pagar, Wallich Residence.
As though to stamp the fact of property prices, they unveiled an unbelievable feature of having their unique "bungalow in the sky" concept in the now tallest building in Singapore. Not only is this a first to be seen in our local market, the Straits Times is reporting this as the test of Singapore's luxury property market recovery with a $100 million apartment. And the average price of most units are starting from $3,321.09 psf which works out to a huge amount any way you look at it.
But is this phenomenal pricing limited to Singapore's busiest district?
A West Side Story
Exploring further west to the prime area of Pasir Panjang and the Westcoast, we have The Verandah Residences, a development by Oxley Holdings Ltd, another well known property developer. And while the units here are not seeing the extraordinary price range of the district 01 area, units were reported to have sold at around $1,885 psf and as at this writing, almost all units are gone.
This raises the all-important question then, whether the prices are truly exorbitant if the demand for luxury property is playing catch up.
From the West Coast, we now turn our attention to the Eastern side.
And within close proximity to Singapore's key water activity district of East Coast Park, is The Line @ Tanjong Rhu, a development by foreign property developer, YMC Holdings. If you thought only local developers are commanding the high prices, then guess again.
Because a quick check on popular property portal propertyguru shows otherwise.
Despite being in district 15, the units were selling from #2,170.62 psf and up.
The Expectation For The Future
With such astronomical prices regardless of districts, the news doesn't bode well for property buyers hoping to uncover any hidden arbitrage opportunities.
Instead, given the trend of these prices, it may even be safe to predict that upcoming launches will see their prices hovering around this same range.
Take the upcoming River Valley project, RV Millenia Condo, another development by City Developments Limited.
While there is hardly any information about the project or even the expected starting price for the units, given the past track record of the developer, we're already expecting the developer to announce the units are in the premium tier of property prices.
(Such was the case when we touched on one of their projects in our evaluation of the value of Tampines as a regional centre in recent times.)
However, while the prices of our local property scene appears to be escalating without any resistance, we also have to remember that 2017/18 is seeing the economy improving.
Furthermore, this is also the period where many older estates are experiencing the en bloc trend leaving home owners with plenty of cash on hand to invest in luxury homes.
Will this trend last?
It is difficult to say at this point in time as historically, property prices in Singapore has fallen before.
But for now, it looks like the market is on growing momentum with no indication of slowing down.