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Bigger is better for Singapore home buyers
06 Oct 2020
Spurred by WFH trend, larger condo sales hit two-year highs, with 582 condos of over 1,200 sq ft sold in August...
Bigger is better for Singapore home buyers
06 Oct 2020
BT 20201006 LSLARGER 427063
Jadescape has the highest number of large units sold from January to August 2020. PHOTO: JADESCAPE


HOME owners are trading up, spurred to take that plunge of a bigger financial committment by the work from home trend which has led to a surge in sales of large condos.

These are defined as more than 1,200 square feet (sq ft) in size. The most popular large units are in the 1,200 - 1,400 sq ft size as these are more affordable compared to even bigger ones.

Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie head of research & consultancy who analysed the trend, noted that in July and August alone, 208 units above 1,800 sq ft were sold at a median price of S$3.35 million, a trend that Ms Sun described as "pretty amazing amid the pandemic and economic slowdown".

The number is higher than in the same period of 2018 (187 units) at a median price of S$3.25 million and 201 units in 2019 with a median price of S$3.6 million, she said.

The Avenir and Jadescape saw the highest number of homes above 1,800 sq ft sold, seven and five respectively. The median unit price at The Avenir - located in the core central region - was S$3,218 per sq ft with median price of S$7.6 million. Jadescape's median unit price was S$1,604 per sq ft with median price of S$3.4 million. Jadescape is in the rest of central region.

At The Penrose which was launched late last month, five units larger than 1,200 sq ft were sold, based on URA/Realis figures as at Oct 2, 2020, said Wong Siew Ying, PropNex head of research and content. Prices of the five which have four bedrooms range from S$2.2 million to S$2.3 million.

In total there are 54 four-bedroom units at Penrose, ranging from 129 to 130 sq m (1,388.5 - 1,399.3 sq ft). These 4-bedders account for 9.55 per cent of the total 566-unit development.

Overall, in August, 582 condos of over 1,200 sq ft were sold, up 22.5 per cent from July's 475, and 44.4 per cent from August 2019, said Ms Sun.

The number is also a 27-month high (751 units in May 2018) and above the two-year average of 338 units (September 2018-August 2020).

"If we remove the low numbers sold in April-May 2020 during the circuit breaker period, August 2020 sales are still higher than the 22-month average of 359 units," said Ms Sun.

BT 20201006 LSLARGER 4270467 page 001

The increase was across all market segments, and from new projects and resales. New sales in August of 147 touched a three-year plus high; the previous record was 197 units in April 2017.

New projects with the highest number of large units sold from January to August 2020 were Jadescape (108), Treasure at Tampines (98), Parc Clementis (54) and Forett at Bukit Timah (28) and Parc Esta (28).

Resales of 432 was a tad lower than the previous record of 440 units in July 2018.

The 582 sales comprised 127 units in the expensive core central region, 274 in the rest of central region and 181 in the more affordable outside central region.

Rising prices did not deter buyers from upsizing.

In July-August 2020, the median unit price of large units was S$1,319 per sq ft, 3.5 per cent higher than the same period in 2019 and 29.2 per cent higher than the same period five years ago, she noted.

The rising demand for large units may be related to the work-from-home trend where more could be buying bigger homes or needing more space for work and leisure, said Ms Sun.

As well, the price resilience of properties in Singapore may have driven some to purchase bigger units now for fear that the price increase may put such units out of reach in future.

Private residential property prices for 2020 as a whole may end in positive territory, some analysts say, after prices rose 0.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) in Q3, nudging the overall price index up 0.1 per cent year-to-date.

"The coronavirus crisis may be changing the property market and consumers' buying behaviour in more ways than anticipated," said Ms Sun.

Many have been working from home since the start of the pandemic and Covid-19 could be causing a permanent shift towards remote-working in some organisations.

A growing number of companies and employees are already adjusting their mindset to adopt more flexible, work-from-home arrangements for the long term, especially for organisations that can save rental costs with the need for a smaller office space, she said.

"The substantial amount of time spent in one's apartment may have led some people to reconsider the function of a home beyond protection, social interaction and emotional bondage among family members," said Ms Sun.

An extra room or study helps create a more conducive workspace, providing clearer space boundaries between work and leisure as the lines could be blurring for some individuals.

The sweet spot for large units remains in the 1,200 - 1,400 sq ft size range. A 1,200 sq ft condo usually has three bedrooms or 3 plus study and some even will squeeze in four bedrooms. From January to August, 1,162 such units were sold.

The trend may signal a need for developers to consider reconfiguring their unit mix for future developments to include more large units or have more fittings or facilities to support the culture of work from home, said Ms Sun.

"For instance, instead of building more communal facilities like pavilions or BBQ pits, they may build more co-sharing spaces or libraries that are equipped with WiFi or 5G network."

They may also build more units with study rooms, carve out dedicated spaces or create convertible areas within the unit to set up a home office space, she said.

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60% of Penrose condo units sold over launch weekend
28 Sep 2020
Penrose condo, a 99-year leasehold development located at Sims Drive in District 14. Take-up at the weekend...
60% of Penrose condo units sold over launch weekend
28 Sep 2020
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Penrose condo, a 99-year leasehold development located at Sims Drive in District 14. Take-up at the weekend was good across all unit types. The selling prices worked out to $1,500 to $1,700 per square foot, said Hong Leong. PHOTO: HONG LEONG GROUP

The Hong Leong group sold 60.3 per cent of its Penrose condominium over its launch weekend, with the reception among buyers in line with recent data showing bullish new home sales defying the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As of 5pm yesterday, 341 units out of 566 in the 99-year leasehold development at Sims Drive had been taken up, said Hong Leong in a media release.

The units were sold at prices starting from $788,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, $943,000 for a two-bedder, $1.33 million for a three-bedder and $2.11 million for a four-bedder, said Hong Leong yesterday.

The project's apartment sizes range from 474 square feet (sq ft) for a one-bedroom unit to 1,389 sq ft for a four-bedroom unit.

Take-up was good across all unit types, with the selling prices working out to $1,500 to $1,700 per square foot, said Hong Leong.

It added that nearly 85 per cent of the weekend's buyers were Singaporeans, with permanent residents and foreigners making up the rest. "Keen interest was also seen from HDB upgraders across areas islandwide," the company added.

Sales of new homes - mostly newly-launched condominiums - hit an 11-month high last month, defying the Hungry Ghost Month, and more importantly, the pandemic, the resultant recession and a surge in job losses.

Market observers have ascribed this to "pent-up demand" after Singapore's two-month circuit breaker upended sales and planned launches.

But other reasons given for the surge in new home sales were more buyers parking their money in property, which they see as a safe-haven asset amid an uncertain economy and volatile markets, and record-low interest rates making it seem a "good time" to get a home loan.

Ms Betsy Chng, head of sales and marketing at Hong Leong Holdings, said "timing and sensitive pricing" were the main factors behind the good response to the Penrose's sales launch.

"Given the current climate, it is crucial to identify the right timing and price our projects thoughtfully according to market sentiments and each project's value that includes location, design and quality interiors," she added.

The project is jointly developed by Hong Leong Holdings and City Developments, another member of the group. The District 14 development, which comprises five 18-storey towers, is a short walk to Aljunied MRT station and near the Pan-Island Expressway and Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway. The Central Business District is about 15 minutes' drive away.

Property experts said new home sales may start to moderate in the coming months as pent-up demand from local buyers is absorbed into the market. But the gradual reopening of the economy and the setting up of fast lanes for essential travel could also result in more foreign demand for private homes here.

In line with Covid-19 preventive measures, balloting and booking of Penrose units were done virtually via Zoom.

Online balloting began on Friday to determine the queue sequence of buyers for booking day, which started on Saturday.
 
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Verdale sells 50% of released units over launch weekend
21 Sep 2020
HALF of the 78 released units of private residential development Verdale were sold over its launch weekend...
Verdale sells 50% of released units over launch weekend
21 Sep 2020
VERDALE Hero Day
An artist's impression of Verdale, a condominium in Bukit Timah jointly developed by China Overseas Land & Investment Limited (COLI) Singapore and CSC Land Group (Singapore). COLI SINGAPORE AND CSC LAND GROUP (SINGAPORE)

HALF of the 78 released units of private residential development Verdale were sold over its launch weekend, in a project jointly developed by China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd (COLI) Singapore and CSC Land Group (Singapore).

Sales were carried out through a pre-balloting procedure where buyers were given a pre-allocated time slot on the launch day of Sept 19 to proceed to the show flat for booking. Sales carried out following the initial launch day were by appointment only.

The developers said that sales momentum was driven by a mix of demand from buyers in the immediate vicinity and other districts who were drawn to the presence of nearby nature parks, as well as the potential and heightened connectivity of the future Beauty World Integrated Transport Hub (ITH).

Interest was also seen from HDB upgraders from the surrounding areas and empty nesters looking to downsize while still being close to their children, with buyers comprising young working professionals, investors, young couples and multi-generational families.

About 95 per cent of the buyers from the first weekend of sales were Singaporeans and permanent residents. Units were sold across unit types from one-bedroom to four-bedroom.

The leasehold development is a five-storey private residential development of seven blocks with 258 apartment units located in District 21. The future development is in close proximity to Bukit Batok Nature Park and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, as well as key recreational corridors such as the Rail Corridor and the upcoming Coast-to-Coast trail.

As at Sunday, one-bedroom units were selling from S$791,000 to S$878,000, two-bedroom units from S$998,000 to S$1,392,000, three-bedroom units from S$1,557,000 to S$1,811,000, four-bedroom units from S$2,449,000 to S$2,581,000, and the duplex penthouses priced from S$2,625,000 to S$3,341,000.

As pandemic safety measures persist, the developers said that viewings will continue to be conducted through pre-arranged appointments only, with limited time slots to ensure that groups are spaced out in line with the guidelines from the authorities.

The development is jointly marketed by ERA Realty Network, Orange Tee & Tie and PropNex International.
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New home sales in Singapore for August surprise with 16% rise m-o-m
15 Sep 2020
Including ECs, developers moved 1,307 units in August, up 14 per cent from 1,142 units in July...
New home sales in Singapore for August surprise with 16% rise m-o-m
15 Sep 2020
condo CMG 1
Including ECs, developers moved 1,307 units in August, up 14 per cent from 1,142 units in July and 12 per cent higher than the 1,168 units sold in August last year. PHOTO: CMG

DESPITE economic headwinds and the Hungry Ghost Festival, developers in Singapore sold 1,256 private homes in August, 16 per cent higher than July's take-up.

There were also more units launched by developers in August as 1,582 units were released, of which 109 were in the Core Central Region (CCR), 821 in Rest of the Central Region (RCR), and 652 were Outside the Central Region (OCR).

In comparison, 82 per cent fewer units were launched for sale in July as Singapore progressively emerged from the "circuit breaker". There were also about 56 per cent more units released in August compared to the corresponding month a year ago when 1,015 units were released.

The figures - which were released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday based on its survey of licensed housing developers - exclude executive condominium (EC) units, which are a public-private housing hybrid.

Including ECs, developers moved 1,307 units in August, up 14 per cent from 1,142 units in July and 12 per cent higher than the 1,168 units sold in August last year.

Christine Sun, head of research at OrangeTee & Tie, said: "The property market bucked the trend with higher new home sales inked in August, (as) market activity typically tends to slow during the seventh lunar month. New home sales rose 'higher and quicker' than expected after the "circuit-breaker" period, which upended sales in April and May (when there were) showflat closures." The sales for new homes last month hit an 11-month high as well as a fourth consecutive monthly increase amid the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic slowdown, she went on to point out.

"Sales in the RCR were propped up by the launch of Forett@Bukit Timah and Noma," noted Lee Sze Teck, director (research) at Huttons Asia.

August's take-up in the RCR (excluding ECs) stood at 622 units, versus 128 units in CCR and 506 units in OCR.

Commenting on the figures for the month of August, Mr Lee added: "Possible reasons for the strong set of numbers could be down to genuine buying demand generated by the low interest rate environment, lack of alternative stable investment asset, and the fear of missing out."
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