Red-hot market reaches dizzying heights

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 April, 2010, 12:00am

Singapore's property market is more active and vibrant compared with its neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia, as a number of foreign investors are attracted to it because of its liquidity.

Similar to Hong Kong, Singapore's housing market is red hot at the moment as the demand is fuelled by a strong economy and foreign-investor confidence, according to property analysts.

Because of the rising demand, buyers are not deterred by hefty prices and they are ready to put down deposits in new construction without asking questions.

They feel the property market will rise further.

According to news reports last month, 200-plus units of a residential project were snapped up by buyers, with prices ranging from S$1.2 million (HK$6.7 million) to S$2 million.

A senior executive at Colliers International was quoted by a newspaper as saying: 'The market is driven by confidence fuelled by the recovering economy and employment market, and supported by low interest rates.'

A recent research report by Colliers on Singapore's property market says that a combination of improved market sentiment and economic recovery continued to support the real estate market in the fourth quarter of last year, with a total investment sales value of S$4.41 billion amassed in that time.

While this was 2.3 per cent lower than the S$4.51 billion achieved in the previous quarter, it was still higher than the other levels achieved since the onset of the financial meltdown in the third quarter of 2008.

Despite the marginally lower total investment sales value in the fourth quarter last year, there was a noticeable increase in the number of deals at and above the S$100 million band during the quarter, compared with the period from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter last year.

This could signify that investors' appetite is growing again after staying weak in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the report says.

Eight transactions, each worth S$100 million and above, were recorded in the last three months of last year, contributing S$1.92 billion in investment sales value. This was a 25.4 per cent improvement on the third quarter of last year and a significant turnaround from the first half of 2009.

At the height of the investment sales market in 2007, the market saw 22 big-ticket sales transactions, valued at $10.62 billion, recorded in the third quarter of 2007.

The Colliers report says that the eight big-ticket deals, each of S$100 million and above, in the fourth quarter of last year were principally from the residential and retail sectors. In the residential sector, developers picked up two land parcels from the Government Land Sale (GLS) programme and four development sites from private vendors.

The recovering market and loosening credit lines mean there is a trend in branded residences, which started in Thailand.

One project, which may get the interest of investors in Hong Kong and the mainland, is The Residences at W Singapore Sentosa Cove, a newly launched luxury development.

The Residences at W is Singapore's answer to high living, similar to the likes of Sausalito, Newport Beach in California or Lighter Quay in Auckland. The target buyers of these residences will primarily be foreigners, especially high-net-worth individuals familiar with brands, such as W, and who are looking for a holiday home for themselves.

City Developments Limited (CDL) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the developers of The Residences at W, says the project will have 228 private luxury residences.

The Residences at W will be at the heart of The Quayside Isle, which includes an adjoining 240-room W Singapore Sentosa Cove hotel and a speciality retail component featuring waterfront restaurants and shops.

The integrated development will complete the lifestyle experience for residents on Sentosa Cove and will be a leisure destination for tourists and locals alike.

The developers hope to complete the project by 2012.

'When all the components - the residences, hotel and retail - are completed it will invigorate Sentosa Cove and we envision the entire marina community to be enlivened, making it one of the most compelling destinations in this region to visit,' says Kwek Leng Joo, managing director of CDL.

The houses in Residences at W Singapore Sentosa Cove will range from two to four bedrooms along with penthouses, and from 1,227 sqft to 6,297 sqft. The development comprises seven, six-storey blocks with attic. The prices of the residences will range from S$2,500 to S$3,000 per sqft.

CDL says The Residences at W has been designed with environmental sustainability in mind, from optimised orientation to minimise solar heat gain and maximise natural air flow to extensive use of overhangs, balconies and planters to mitigate direct solar exposure.

The Residences at W was awarded the Green Mark Platinum award last year, the highest certification for green developments in Singapore, by the Building and Construction Authority.

Ambitious exercise

The date when developers hope to complete the Quayside Isle integrated development on Sentosa Cove: 2012