Haven plays it safe
Policy measures taken by Singapore's government appear to have dampened momentum in the private residential property market. However, despite global economic uncertainties, new sales of units by developers remain firm, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
In its Financial Stability Review released this month, the authority says global liquidity remains flush and the search for yield is likely to continue, so 'Singapore may be viewed as a safe haven that could attract investments into the residential property market'.
Cumulative new sales for the first three quarters of this year reached about 12,300 units, up from 12,100 sold over the same period last year. New sales for the full year are expected to match last year's volume.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs says it remains cautious, though Credit Suisse expects 'physical prices to be resilient, given low interest rates and strong household balance sheets'.
Knight Frank data shows that home prices rose 2.5 per cent in the third quarter, but the company expects concerns in the European Union and United States to have some impact.
Clarence Chow, general manager at Centaline (Singapore) Property Agency, says third-quarter results were healthy in primary and secondary markets in terms of transaction volume and prices. 'The four rounds of cooling measures have moderated price increases. We are still enjoying good take-up rates at mass to mid-market level. Even the luxury market, such as The Marque at a record high price at S$6,500 [HK$38,700] per square foot, is still seeing positive interest.'
Looking ahead to the luxury projects coming on stream next year, Chow believes the high-end market should hold. 'Barring any major correction, the Singapore market should remain healthy and a safe haven for investors. Buyers will see this as a good time to add quality properties to their portfolios.'
Thomson Grand, the newest project of Cheung Kong (Holdings), was launched in June. It overlooks the manicured turf of Singapore Island Country Club, the city's most prestigious golf and social club, and has expansive views over Lower Peirce Reservoir and Bishan Park. 'Such multiple breathtaking views within the same apartment are a true rarity in Singapore,' says Justin Chiu, executive director of Cheung Kong.
Sales manager Cannas Ho adds: 'Thomson Grand is indeed a unique development that is enveloped in prestige, luxury and grandeur, both from the inside and out - just the way we envisioned it to be right from the onset when we first set eyes on the land.'
Along the prestigious Meyer Road, The Meyerise, a condominium in District 15 in the East Coast, is designed to maximise sea and city views.
'There's nothing like looking out your window and taking in a rolling expanse of sky and sea,' says Betsy Chng, head of sales and marketing at developer Hong Leong Holdings. 'In an increasingly urbanised Singapore landscape, scenic views are hard to come by, much less those overlooking the coast.'