Also known as the 'Garden City', because of its pleasant living environment, Singapore's booming property market was widely tipped to stall this year following the global financial crisis. Some forecast a price drop of up to 10 per cent this year, saying the top-performing luxury sector could not be immune. Despite a slow December and January, this does not seem to be the case.
'The start of 2012 saw a slew of new property launches greeted by buoyant buying sentiment in Singapore's private residential market. Developers sold 2,413 new private homes in February 2012, up 29 per cent from 1,872 units in January. This is almost double the sales volume for the same period one year ago,' says Wong Heang Fine, president of the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore, and CEO of CapitaLand Residential Singapore. Barring any further shocks to the global economy or introduction of new measures, he does not expect a major price correction in the short term.
'In the luxury homes segment, prices have remained firm although transactions have slowed down, Wong says. 'The slowdown can be attributed to uncertainty as buyers adopt a 'wait-and-see' attitude in response to the additional 10 per cent stamp duty levied on foreigners' purchases of residential properties [introduced last December]. This being said, Singapore remains an attractive market because of its stability, transparency and mature infrastructure.'
Nicholas Mak, head of consultancy and research at SLP International Property Consultants, predicts that any softening - if it happens at all - would be short-lived. 'If Singapore were to suffer a mild economic contraction in 2012, the average price of private residential property could fall by 3 to 10 per cent,' he says. 'On the other hand, if the economy were to remain at a steady growth rate, the average property price is projected to increase from 2 to 7 per cent year-on-year.'
On the back of moderating demand for new homes since the fourth quarter of last year, Wing Tai Holdings is proceeding with launch plans as 'the Singapore property market is still looking strong'. The developer reports strong sales for its Helios Residences at Cairnhill Circle on fashionable Orchard Road, with 60 per cent sold.
Property giant City Developments (CDL) is forging ahead with several projects, including The Rainforest on Choa Chu Kang Avenue in January, selling 75 per cent in the first month, and Bartley Residences in February, with 170 of 240 units sold to date. Glyndebourne, located in the prestigious District 11, is believed to have sold three-quarters in a private preview weekend.