Trends in Private Property Selling and Auctions in Singapore
It is difficult enough to understand the unique public-private dynamics in Singapore, a city-state historically known for its stiff heavily government regulated policies, but is even more difficult to understand the current state of private property buying and selling in the country. And then there was a moment frenzy when in 2011 Singapore government imposed ‘cooling measures’ including lowering the seller's stamp duty and shortening the minimum holding period for private properties that further discouraged purchases particularly among foreigners. Yet, report shows that buying demand for residential private property for sale have increased in the last year and that a total of 6,333 residential private properties were sold in 2016 which was 98.9% higher than the previous years. SRX Property similarly reported that this May, re-sale prices of public-housing apartments and other private residential properties for sale, climbed 8.1%. The Residential Property Act which provides discounts on block deals has also driven the sales of approximately S$2 billion worth of residential units sold as block deals in 2016.
This is to say little of the rising investment, purchases and selling of private properties such as condominiums. The Alps Residences, Forest Woods and the new executive condominiums such as The Terrace and Sol Acres and the Singapore market now have a positive quarter on quarter growth of 3.7%. One recent private property launch, Park Place Residences, sold its entire phase one, initially set at 40% of the 429-unit total, just barely within a day.
Interestingly, these developments in are driven by end-users rather than investors and seem to suggest both the economic demand for private home ownership as well as increasing understanding of real-estate dynamics among a broader public which is a notable development especially since real-estate markets is a complicated economics territory and requires understanding of factors and trends in units, supply pipelines and vacancy rates, performance trends of private homes, opportunities in high-end, mid-range and value market or hidden gems or hot potatoes in new development areas.
But take for instance the fact that there has been a marked increase in private properties listed in auctions in Singapore, a corollary rise in public auction events and increasing public participation in these events over the last couple of years. Whether or not these were foreclosure property auctions, the fact remains that this usually exclusive mode private property selling and buying in Singapore is now becoming a popular alternative among even average consumers. In fact, real estate firms have reported that the number of properties listed at auctions have steadily increased since 2014 with an increase from 153 in 2014 to 229 foreclosure or mortagee listing last year. But this was only 30% of all Singapore advertise property for sale and listings last year. A more indicative trend on increasing public awareness is the fact that private property selling rose with 516 listings last year compared to only 356 in 2014. Apparently, more owners who wish to dispose their properties are now understanding and realizing that the property auction is a quick and definite alternative in selling private property. There is also an increase in owners of similar units who attend auctions to observe, obtain real-estate information and find viable options for buying and selling property.