China's new home prices grew at their weakest pace in 17 months in December, with broader curbs on the sector continuing to cool the market in a further blow to the sputtering economy. Average prices of new homes in China's 70 major cities rose 6.6 per cent last month from a year ago, slowing from a 7.1 per cent gain in the previous month, according to Reuters calculation based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data yesterday. It was the slowest pace since July 2018, and significantly weaker than the 9.7 per cent gain seen in December 2018. Price trends have been mixed as the authorities try to reduce frothiness in some cities and relax rules in others in an effort to foster stability in a sector seen as a pillar of the world's second-biggest economy. Many analysts are forecasting a further slowdown in the market. "The market has hit a turning point, "said Mr Zhang Dawei, a Beijing-based analyst with property agency Centaline. He said the NBS data did not fully reflect the downturn in some markets, including in the capital Beijing, where inventory is at a multi-year high. "In a downward cycle, most cities' government-mandated price caps on new launches have been lifted, and that would mean even as overall demand has cooled, prices would still somehow show stronger growth on paper, "he said. All the same, home prices still marked the 56th straight month of gains, even amid China's clampdown on property speculation since 2016 to stop home prices from overheating. With the pace of economic growth slowing, policymakers are keen to avoid wholesale squashing of the property market. There have been some signs of improvement in demand and prices across the sector since late last year as trade tensions with the US eased. Most of the 70 cities surveyed by the NBS still reported monthly price increases for new homes, with the number up to 50 from 44 in November in a sign of some broadening strength in the market. "It suggests property developers' year-end sales may have not been that bad at all after running persistent promotion campaigns, "said E-house China Research and Development Institution director Yan Yuejin in Shanghai. On a month-on-month basis, home prices edged up 0.3 per cent in December from the previous month, unchanged from the pace in November.
SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's new home prices grew at their weakest pace in 17 months in December, with broader curbs on the sector continuing to cool the market in a further blow to the sputtering economy.Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 6.6 per cent in December from a year ago, slowing from a 7.1 per cent gain in the previous month, Reuters calculation based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data on Thursday. It was the slowest pace since July 2018, and significantly weaker than the 9.7 per cent gain seen in December 2018. Price trends have been mixed lately, as authorities try to reduce frothiness in some cities and relax rules in others in an effort to foster stability in a sector seen as a pillar of the world's second-biggest economy. Many analysts are forecasting a further slowdown in the market. "The market has hit a turning point, "said Zhang Dawei, a Beijing-based analyst with property agency Centaline. Zhang said the NBS data did not fully reflect the downturn in some markets, including in the Chinese capital Beijing, where inventory is at a multi-year high. "In a downward cycle, most cities' government-mandated price caps on new launches have been lifted, and that would mean even as overall demand has cooled, prices would still somehow show stronger growth on paper, "he said. All the same, home prices still marked the 56th straight month of gains, even as China has clamped down on property speculation since 2016 to stop home prices from overheating. With the pace of China's economic growth slowing, policymakers are keen to avoid wholesale squashing of the property market. There has been some signs of improvement in demand and prices across the sector since late last year as trade tensions with the United States eased. In the latest sign of warmer ties, the world's two largest economies signed an initial trade deal on Wednesday that will roll back some tariffs and boost Chinese purchases of US products, although a number of sore spots remained unresolved. A Reuters poll this week showed China's economic growth likely hovered at its weakest in nearly 30 years in the fourth quarter as demand at home and abroad remained sluggish. TARGETED POLICIES Most of the 70 cities surveyed by the NBS still reported monthly price increases for new homes, with the number up to 50 from 44 in November in a sign of some broadening strength in the market. "It suggests property developers' year-end sales may have not been that bad at all after running persistent promotion campaigns, "said Yan Yuejin, director of the E-house China Research and Development Institution in Shanghai. On a month-on-month basis, home prices edged up 0.3 per cent in December from the previous month, unchanged from the pace in November. Beijing has been calling for more targeted city-based policies to foster market stability. Analysts say any sharp drop in home prices would likely not be tolerated by local governments. Some cities in the past months moved to relax rules by making it easier for graduates to get coveted household registration permits or lowering the requirements for eligible home buyers. China's southern province of Guangdong said on Tuesday it will ease the residential permit in all its cities except the powerhouses of Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Thursday's data highlighted the recent mixed price trends. The so-called tier-3 cities outperformed other city-tiers by rising 0.6 per cent on a monthly basis, quicker than November's 0.5 per cent gain, the statistics bureau said in a statement accompanying the data. Yangzhou, a city of 4.6 million in eastern China's Jiangsu province, was the top price performer in the month, with its price increasing 1.3 per cent on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, price growth in China's four top-tier cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou - slowed from a 0.6 per cent gain in November. They rose 0.2 per cent from a month earlier. Tier-2 cities, which include most of the larger provincial capitals, increased 0.3 per cent in December on a monthly basis, slightly higher than a 0.2 per cent gain in the previous month.
Developers had a bit more reason to cheer last year than in 2018, thanks in part to Housing Board upgraders. Owners selling up in the public housing sector to buy in the private market gave a much-needed boost to sales numbers. There were 10, 104 units shifted in 2019 - 14.9 per cent more than the 8, 795 transacted in 2018. Six of the top 10 projects last year were in the outside central region, with the remainder in the rest of central, noted Mr Lee Sze Teck, Huttons Asia director of research. "This is unsurprising as the bulk of the demand will come from HDB upgraders, "he said."With the HDB resale market bottoming out in 2019, this segment of buyers will likely bolster the buying volume in 2020." PropNex Realty chief Ismail Gafoor said:"Against the backdrop of the cooling measures and the uncertain economic climate, crossing the 10, 000 mark is commendable." He noted that his data showed about 55 per cent of these sales were at projects that had been launched in prior years, adding:"Previously launched projects are in strong demand due to their attractive price points." There were signs the market gained momentum later in the year. Developers sold 2, 635 units in the fourth quarter, a 43.5 per cent surge from the 1, 836 homes moved in the same quarter in 2018, Urban Redevelopment Authority data showed yesterday. But sales in December hit the usual festive roadblock, with just 538 private homes shifted, amid a dearth of new launches. That was well down on the 1, 147 units sold in November, but still 10.6 per cent higher than in December 2018. The latest data excludes executive condominiums. If these are factored in, developers moved 551 units last month, down 53.5 per cent from November and 8.9 per cent lower than in December 2018. December's lower sales volume was expected because of the year-end holidays and the lack of new launches, said Mr Lee. Only 370 units were launched last month, compared with 947 in November. Many developers held back launches in anticipation of a resurgence in buying interest, which usually occurs at the beginning of the year, when buyers return from their holidays, said Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at Orange Tee & Tie. BETTER THAN EXPECTED Against the backdrop of the cooling measures and the uncertain economic climate, crossing the 10, 000 mark is commendable. PROPNEX REALTY CHIEF ISMAIL GAFOOR, referring to the 10, 104 units in the private housing sector that were moved last year. About 30 launches have been lined up for the first half of the year, with about half in the core central region or prime districts and the rest evenly spread between the rest of the central region or city fringes and the outside of central region. Top-selling projects last month included Parc Botannia, with 49 units sold at a median price of $1, 345 per square foot (psf); Parc Esta, with 45 units sold at $1, 666 psf; and Parc Clematis, with 40 sold at $1, 638 psf. There could be up to 50 launches and 11, 000 new units put on the market this year, Mr Lee said, with total sales of between 9, 000 and 10, 000, much like last year. Ms Sun said demand for new homes could lift prices by 2 to 4 per cent this year.
SINGAPORE - Non-landed private homes and Housing Board flats saw higher rents and more leasings last year, according to flash data from real estate portal SRX Property on Wednesday (Jan 15) Condominium and private apartment rents rose 3.7 per cent for the whole of 2019, although they dipped 0.9 per cent in December from the previous month. Still, rents in December are 16.6 per cent below their peak in January 2013. Year on year, private rents were up in all areas last month: the prime or core central region rose by 3.9 per cent, the city fringe or rest of central region by 4 per cent, and in the suburbs or outside central region by 3.1 per cent. The number of apartments and condo units leased rose 2.3 per cent for the whole of 2019 to 58, 236 homes. In December alone, 1.2 per cent more private non-landed units were rented than the year before. Month on month, private rental volumes fell, with 4, 011 units leased in December, a 2.8 per cent drop from 4, 126 homes in November. Even so, last month's rental volume was 13.6 per cent higher than the five-year average volume for the month of December, SRX data showed. Over in the public housing market, HDB rents year rose 1.3 per cent from a year ago. December's rents also inched up by 0.1 per cent from November. However, compared to their peak in August 2013, December's HDB rents are still down by 14.3 per cent. SRX data showed that while three-room flat rents were down 0.3 per cent in December from a year ago, rents in other flat types rose: 2.1 per cent for four-room flats, 1.3 per cent for five-room units and 1.4 per cent for executive flats. The higher rents came on the back of more flats rented, as the number of HDB flats leased for the whole of last year hit 23, 958, 1.9 per cent higher than 2018. For last month alone, HDB rental volumes fell 5.3 per cent compared with December 2018. There was also a month-on-month fall in rental volumes, with 1, 753 HDB flats rented in December, 8.6 per cent lower than the 1, 917 units rented in November. The rental volume in December was 2.4 per cent lower than the five-year average volume for the month. Four-room flats were again most popular last month, making up 35.9 per cent of total rental volume, followed by three-room flats with 32.7 per cent. Five-room flats accounted for 25.2 per cent of units leased, and executive condominium flats 6.2 per cent. Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty, said the lower rental volumes in December compared with November was typical of"the seasonal year-end lull period". "(This) softened the rental transaction volumes marginally for both the private residential and HDB leasing markets last month, as some decision makers were away for the holidays, "he said. He said the number of units leased for both non-landed private units and HDB flats could rise between 1.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent by this December, if"the employment market remains healthy". Around 24, 500 HDB flats will reach the five-year minimum occupation period this year, while around 5, 100 private residential units will be completed."Some of these new housing units will be offered for lease, "Mr Mak said.
SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Two family members of Koh Brothers Group's executives will each buy a unit in the company's upcoming 69-unit freehold luxury condominium Van Holland. The mainboard-listed developer said on Saturday afternoon (Jan 11) that its wholly-owned subsidiary, KBD Holland, had granted siblings Benjamin Koh Yong Jun and Rachel Koh Han Ling the option to purchase the apartments, both on the third storey of Block 188. Mr Benjamin Koh may buy a unit at $1.5 million, while Ms Rachel Koh may buy one at $2 million. Both sale prices were arrived at after applying a special staff discount of 3 per cent on the public list price. This discount is granted to all employees and their respective immediate families for the purchase of any units in the condominium, Koh Brothers said. Francis Koh Keng Siang, the company's managing director and group chief executive officer (CEO), is Mr Benjamin Koh and Ms Rachel Koh's father. The group's executive chairman, Koh Tiat Meng, is their grandfather, while non-executive and non-independent director Quek Chee Nee is their grandmother. Executive deputy chairman Koh Teak Huat is their granduncle, while Koh Keng Hiong, the executive director and deputy CEO of the real estate and leisure and hospitality divisions, is their uncle. Mr Benjamin Koh, Ms Rachel Koh, their brother and their mother are also substantial shareholders of the company, although Koh Brothers did not disclose the stakes they own. The company's audit and risk committee (ARC) has reviewed and approved both sales, and is satisfied that the terms of the sales are fair and reasonable", Koh Brothers said. The ARC and board are also satisfied that the terms of the sales are not prejudicial to the interests of the company and its minority shareholders. The chairman, deputy chairman, group CEO, deputy CEO of the real estate and leisure and hospitality divisions, and Mdm Quek had abstained from the board's review and approval of the interested-person transactions. Van Holland units were offered to the public on Saturday, with indicative prices starting from $2, 600 per square foot. Its private preview on Jan 3 reportedly attracted over 200 visitors. Citi analyst Brandon Lee was quoted on Friday as saying that five units had been sold, before the public launch and the announcement on Mr Benjamin Koh and Ms Rachel Koh's purchases. The development along Holland Road is set to obtain its temporary occupation permit in March 2023. It will offer apartments each spanning 495 square feet (sq ft) to 1, 991 sq ft. Shares of Koh Brothers were flat at $0.23 at Friday's close.
For the urban sophisticate, a true home is never just limited to brick and mortar The art of luxe living goes far beyond merely having a marquee address in a skyscraper of sleek steel and marble and the truly discerning seek out the priceless experiences one can enjoy from the very comforts of their homes. For 130 years, Hongkong Land - a member of the Jardine Matheson Group - has been defining what it means to lead a good life. With property holdings spanning from Hong Kong to China and Singapore, as well as a heritage reaching across generations, Hongkong Land's ability to deliver a lifestyle that is a cut above the rest is embedded in its DNA. In thoughtfully carved-out spaces by the developer, homeowners can forge community and connections, achieve dreams and goals, and find respite and sanctuary. That impeccable touch of luxe has extended to Margaret Ville and Parc Esta, two recent Singapore projects by Hongkong Land's wholly-owned subsidiary MCL Land. In Margaret Ville, bask in its simple yet refined charm as you step into its grand marble entryway. This 40-storey development towers over the heritage-steeped Queenstown estate from which Margaret Ville draws its inspiration. With Queenstown MRT a seven-minute walk away, getting to Orchard Road, Dempsey Hill or the Central Business District is a breeze. For the very best of eastern living, look to the 1, 404-unit Parc Esta, where the majesty of its nine 18-storey towers give way to an elevated living experience matched only by the best of hospitality. At Parc Esta, you'll find all the gems of the East side within reach. Eunos MRT station is less than 3 minutes' walk, and within 12 minutes of driving, you'll get to Changi Airport, East Coast Park and Singapore Sports Hub. Hongkong Land's Midas touch when it comes to elevating luxury living to unforgettable experiences will also extend to the upcoming Leedon Green condominium in Singapore. MCL Land, in partnership with Yanlord Land, will transform the former Tulip Garden condominium into a timeless, luxurious living space for discerning home buyers. Slated for completion in 2023, Leedon Green is a freehold development across 3ha of prime District 10 land and is located at the Good Class Bungalow cluster at Leedon Heights. It will feature 638 units ranging from one- to four-bedroom types, as well as five double-storey Garden Villas. With its spa pavilion, tree top walk, jacuzzi and a majestic tree barbecue pavilion, home is envisioned as the ultimate tropical escape, topped off with bespoke fittings and finishings such as marble finishing, Antonio Lupi bathroom fixtures from Italy and Hansgrohe (AXOR) sanitary wares from Germany. Take your cooking to the next level with Ernestomeda kitchen sets from Italy, as well as Swiss-made V-ZUG kitchen appliances and Liebherr fridges from Germany. Convenience is baked into every moment, with V-ZUG washers and dryers provided for a fuss-free move-in, and private lifts for selected three- and four-bedroom owners. Connected seamlessly to Farrer Road, Bukit Timah Road and major expressways, Leedon Green is also within an 8-minute walk to Farrer MRT station. An easy 15-minute drive will take you to the Central Business District, giving you the freedom of accessibility and convenience. Its prime location puts it within minutes of entertainment and lifestyle hotspots such as Holland Village, Dempsey and the Singapore Botanic Gardens, as well as elite schools such as Nanyang Primary School. At Leedon Green, residents will not only have a luxurious roof over their heads, but one that will enable them to live their best lives. Showflats for Leedon Green are now open for viewing.
SINGAPORE - Eleven shops in Singapore gadget central Sim Lim Square were put on the market after the well-known tech mall failed at its second en bloc tender attempt.Mr Francis Tan, chief investment officer of real estate consultancy SLP Scotia, the mall's marketing agent, told The Straits Times that there were no bids at the close of its second tender on Dec 30 last year. This despite owners of the strata-titled mall keeping the reserve price unchanged at more than $1.25 billion but with the added sweetener of another 27 per cent of built-up space plus the possibility of lower development charges. Their first en bloc attempt in July last year also ended without any formal bids. Asked why they tried a second time, Mr Tan said: "We just have to go out for the tender for one final push before expiry of the collective sale agreement in March 2020." Built in 1985 and located beside Rochor MRT station, the Sim Lim Square strata titled mall sits on 99-year leasehold site spanning 78, 152 sq ft. Spread out over six storeys and two basements are 492 commercial units. The plot is fully zoned for commercial use, so there was no mandatory requirement to top up the lease, which has 63 years left. While collective sale fever has gone cold for residential properties, interest for commercial properties has not entirely faded. The tender submission date for the $780 million collective sale of The Arcade in Raffles Place has been extended to March 5 from Jan 8, following feedback from developers that they require more time to assess the site. As for Sim Lim Square, on Wednesday (Jan 8), it looks like come shop owners are not waiting to get third time lucky at a collective sale. On Wednesday, a portfolio of 11 shops in Sim Lim Square was put on sale via expression of interest for $22 million. The shops, which can be bought collectively or as individual units, face the central podium on the fifth floor of mall. The last three transactions for such units saw sale prices achieved prices of more than $5, 000 per sq ft, said sole marketing agent Knight Frank Singapore. As it is a commercial property, the sale is open to both locals and foreigners, with no additional buyer's stamp duty and seller's stamp duty imposed on the purchase of the properties. The sale exercise for the retail shops closes at 3pm on Feb 1.
With robust demand for shophouses last year, the start of this year saw the latest slew of such investment properties up for sale. A pair of conservation shophouses in Tras Street in Tanjong Pagar is on the market with a guide price of $12 million for the larger property and $10.8 million for the smaller unit. This works out to about $2, 800 per sq ft for each shophouse, sole marketing agent CBRE announced yesterday. The three-storey shophouses with attics have a 99-year lease and are zoned for commercial use under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's 2019 Master Plan. They are a short walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station, and fully leased to food and beverage (F&B) operators on the ground floor and small office/home office users on the upper floors, said CBRE. Recent transactions of 99-year leasehold shophouses include 34, 36 and 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, which sold collectively last month at about $16.4 million ($3, 000 per sq ft); and 76 Pagoda Street, which sold in July at $13.3 million ($3, 500 per sq ft), added CBRE. Both shophouses can be bought individually or collectively, and are on sale via an expression of interest exercise closing on Feb 12 at 3pm. Separately, two freehold shophouses, one in East Coast Road and the other in Geylang, have been launched for sale by tender. Their guide prices start from $9.9 million for the East Coast shophouse and from $4.98 million for the Geylang property, marketing agent PropNex Realty said yesterday. The tender exercise for both properties closes at 3pm on Jan 30. The shophouse at 711 East Coast Road has a student hostel licence, which allows accommodation facilities for students in primary and secondary schools, junior colleges and tertiary institutions, PropNex said. The East Coast shophouse is leased to a retail store on the ground floor and to a student hostel operator on the upper floors. The corner shophouse at 35 Geylang Lorong 11 has a current plot ratio of about 1.8 and an allowable gross plot ratio of 3.0, which gives it redevelopment potential. The two-storey shophouse has full tenancy, with its ground storey approved for F&B operations with a liquor licence, while the upper floor is used for housing. The owner hopes to"sell fast"as the family seeks to divest the asset for personal reasons, said PropNex associate director Loyalle Chin.
Previews start for the ultra-luxury Avenir condominium in the prime River Valley area at 6pm today. The freehold complex will have 376 units across two 36-storey towers, with two levels of basement parking, a 50m lap pool, a hydrotherapy pool and a bicycle park, among other facilities. Apartment sizes range from around 527 sq ft for a one-bedroom flat to 2, 411 sq ft for a four-bedroom unit. Early-bird prices start at $2, 930 per sq ft for one-to three-bedroom apartments and $3, 030 per sq ft for four-bedders. All units come with balconies, and there will be private lift access for the three-and four-bedroom apartments. The Avenir, which is on a 130, 000 sq ft site, overlooks Orchard Road at one end and the Singapore River at the other. It is also near the Central Business District, the Great World City mall and the upcoming Great World City MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line. It is scheduled to obtain its Temporary Occupation Permit on Aug 1, 2025, said Hong Leong Holdings, which is developing the site in conjunction with GuocoLand and Hong Realty (Private). Residents will have a concierge team to assist with transport arrangements, laundry and housekeeping, party catering or even scheduling a personal trainer. Nearby schools include Eton House Preschool, Odyssey The Global Preschool and River Valley Primary School. The Avenir sales gallery is at the junction of Upper Cross Street and Chin Swee Road. Ms Betsy Chng, head of sales and marketing at Hong Leong Holdings, said: "The Avenir's appeal lies in its freehold tenure and excellent location. It is not far from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet gives you a feel of living in the suburbs. "With its sprawling grounds, The Avenir also gives you the luxury of space, which is a rare commodity when it comes to city living." The Avenir is designed by Mr Jean Francois Milou, founder of international architectural firm studioMilou, which is behind National Gallery Singapore.
Sales of new private homes picked up strongly last month despite the start of the year-end holiday period and amid a property glut, data showed yesterday. Developers sold 1, 147 units last month - excluding executive condominiums (ECs) - 23.2 per cent more than in October but 4.5 per cent fewer than in November last year. If ECs were included, 1, 168 units were sold last month, a 21.9 per cent increase from October but 3 per cent lower than a year ago, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data noted. Developers launched 740 private homes for sale last month, down 17 per cent from October and 44.9 per cent fewer than the 1, 342 in November last year. There were no ECs launched last month. Last month's take-up was led by projects in suburban areas, known as outside central region, with 608 sales, followed by 351 in the city fringes or rest of central region, and 188 in prime areas or core central region. The best-seller was the 680-unit Sengkang Grand Residences, which launched last month. The 99-year leasehold condo next to Buangkok MRT station sold 235 of the 280 units offered at a median price of $1, 741 per sq ft (psf). The 296-unit One Holland Village Residences in a prime district sold 87 of the 126 units launched at a median price of $2, 606 psf. Three previously launched projects did well last month - Parc Esta with 102 sales, Jadescape with 60 and Parc Botannia at 59. There have been 9, 547 units, excluding ECs, sold so far this year, out of 10, 751 launched. This already exceeds the 8, 795 units moved for the whole of last year. "We estimate that between 9, 500 and 10, 000 units could be sold this year, " said Ms Christine Sun, head of research at OrangeTee & Tie. "We anticipate that the next wave of inbound capital may continue to enter Singapore's property market next year with more Chinese capital flowing south." Ms Sun added that mortgage rates may remain low or go lower next year, which would help housing demand to "cruise" at current levels: "As such, we estimate that between 9, 000 and 9, 800 new homes, excluding ECs, could be transacted in 2020." Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE's research head for South-east Asia, noted that 51 projects have been launched this year - the busiest in the past five years. He said most new launches this year have had a take-up of less than 50 per cent, so developers are expected to focus on clearing existing inventory while remaining prudent in land bidding. URA data for last month also shows that the accumulated number of new private residential units launched but unsold stands at 4, 375, or 4, 748 if ECs are included. The Monetary Authority of Singapore warned last month that oversupply in the private market threatens to push down prices. There were 31, 948 unsold private homes from projects with planning approval as of Sept 30, which could take nearly four years to clear. Private home prices rose 7.9 per cent last year but consultants expect them to rise by just 2 to 3.5 per cent this year, after the July 2018 cooling measures were implemented.