Increasing stock, Increasing vacant units and HDB prices dropped 6 months consecutively

I travelled to Singapore recently for a business trip. As usual, Singapore maintains its neat, clean and everything smooth image as soon as I touched down. I could see new flats being built and even a condominium being built right across the street from my office. I think the market must be doing well. I met a friend in the evening and we spoke about the property market in Singapore. He told me that he was actively looking for a HDB flat because the price has softened. He said the major reason was because many of these owners were upgrading due to the softening prices for the condos. There were many completed units which is still vacant. He asked me about my opinion. I told him, while I may not have a property in Singapore but I asked him, how many % of his colleagues own a home. He said, for the married ones, all. For the single, majority not yet and many are staying with their parents. I told him, ‘you have your answer’. He smiled and said, that’s my thought too.

In terms of actual numbers, in an article in PropertyGuru, it was pointed out by a Savills report that the vacant private homes in Singapore is rising continuously. It rose 10.3% from 19,284 units in Q1 2014 to 21,268 units in Q2 2014. Vacancy rate meanwhile rose to 7.1% from 6.6% in Q1. The reason? Increasing stock is one reason. In fact, as at Q2 2014, there were 297,998 available private homes across the island, 1.6% higher than the 293,283 units in the quarter before. One positive point is that leasing demand remain strong in Q2, with rental deals reaching a record of 15,503 transactions or a 12.2% increase a quarter before. Some of the completed units include The Lakefront Residences on Lakeside Drive (629 units), Foresque Residences on Petir Road (496 units), Waterfront Gold on Bedok Reservoir Road (361 units) and The Greenwich on Seletar Road (319 units), Silversea on Marine Parade Road (383 units), Sophia Residences on Sophia Road (272 units) and Cyan on Keng Chin Road (278 units).  Savills expected the vacancy rate to increase even further with more impending supply.

According to another report by Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), prices of previously-owned Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats slipped 0.9 per cent on-month in July. Total decline since beginning of the year is 4% and it was also the sixth consecutive month of price decline.
The amazing thing about Singapore is that all these information are available transparently down to the exact number of units. Thus, for any investors or buyers of their first home, it is so important to have this information. I think my friend would be able to get a good deal. He said he has viewed a few but has yet to offer. He was confident time is still on his side. With the prices of private homes softening, upgraders would have to let go off their HDB units and he would have his chance. Too bad, I earn RM, or else I would love to view and perhaps get one unit end of 2014 or even Q1 of 2015. Then again, I think I think with my familiarity with KL / Selangor perhaps my opportunities are wider. I hope my friend would invite me for his house warming then.

written on 28 Aug 2014

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