The Singapore Property Market 2020: Key Highlights And Trends

There’s a saying that there are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen. That feels about right for the roller-coaster year of 2020, which was unprecedented for the Singapore property market: from a never-before Circuit Breaker that put an end to show flats and viewings, to a quarter that saw the worst economic contraction on record. 

To date, the property market has shown remarkable resilience: the Singapore property market has ended 2020 with no surge in panicked selling or surge in mortgagee sales. However, we’re not out of the woods yet, as buyers and sellers brace for any potential fallout from the Covid-19 aftermath.

Here’s a year-end look at where the overall market stands:

Non-landed private properties

transaction volumes

Total transaction volumes for private non-landed properties (excluding ECs) amounted to 17,416 for the whole of 2020. This is a 4.3 per cent increase from 2019, when total transaction volume came to 16,694 units.

Of the total transactions, 9,364 were new launch properties, while 7,914 were resale properties. Compared to the year before, this is a 5.4 per cent increase for new launch sales, and a 4.6 per cent increase for resale units.

2020 sales volume

In the Core Central Region (CCR), sales volumes rose about 7.2 per cent over the year, from 2,694 to 2,887 units.

In the Rest of Central Region (RCR), sales volumes edged up around 0.2 per cent, from 6,243 to 6,257 units.

In the Outside of Central Region (OCR), sales volumes rose around 6.6 per cent, from 7,756 to 8,272 units. 

Price movement for non-landed private properties 

(Excluding ECs)

price movement property
Region Sales volume Price psf (2019) Price psf (2020) Approx. gain / loss
Singapore 17,416 $1,580 $1,551 -1.8%
CCR 2,887 $2,297 $2,140 – 6.8%
RCR 6,257 $1,596 $1,632 2.3%
OCR 8,272 $1,204 $1,240 3%

All new launch developments throughout 2020

The following is based on Square Foot Research. Some data was not available, at the time in which this report was written. For the most current details on pricing, take-up rates, etc. do drop us a query.

Project Name Location Take-up Rate Indicative Pricing/Average Pricing
15 Holland Hill 15 Holland Hill 10.2% S$ 2,700 – S$ 3,031 psf / S$ 2,886 psf
19 Nassim 19 Nassim Hill 2% S$ 3,401 – S$ 3,401 psf / S$ 3,401 psf
77 @ East Coast 77 Upper East Coast Road 24.4% S$ 1,671 – S$ 1,897 psf / S$ 1,763 psf
Cairnhill 16 16 Cairnhill Rise
Clavon Clementi Ave 1 73.6% S$ 1,487 – S$ 1,858 psf / S$ 1,648 psf
Dalvey Haus 105A Dalvey Road 11.1% S$ 3,141 – S$ 3,192 psf / S$ 3,167 psf
Forett @ Bukit Timah 46 Toh Tuck Road 47.7% S$ 1,635 – S$ 2,120 psf / S$ 1,931 psf
Grange 1866 Grange Road
Hyll on Holland 95 Holland Road 1.9% S$ 2,515 – S$ 2,904 psf / S$ 2,731 psf
Jewel @ Killiney Orchard 110 Killiney Road
Ki Residences Former Brookvale Park condo, Sunset Way 25% S$ 1,612 – S$ 1,950 psf / S$ 1,779 psf
Klimt Cairnhill 69 Cairnhill Road
Kopar at Newton Kampong Java Road 44.7% S$ 2,123 – S$ 2,590 psf / S$ 2,362 psf
Leedon Green 1-11 Farrer Road 13.8% S$ 2,414 – S$ 2,918 psf / S$ 2,646 psf
Liv @ MB 114A Arthur Road
Midtown Modern Tan Quee Lan Street
Mooi Residences 139 Holland Road 16.7% S$ 2,504 – S$ 2,669 psf / S$ 2,569 psf
Myra 11 Meyappa Chettiar Road 18.8% S$ 2,016 – S$ 2,273 psf / S$ 2,096 psf
Noma Guillemard Road 72% S$ 1,480 – S$ 1,808 psf / S$ 1,648 psf
Normanton Park Normanton Park
One Bernam Bernam Street
One Holland Village Holland Road 43.9%
One North Eden One-North Gateway
Peak Residence 333 Thomson Road
Penrose Sims Drive 71.6% S$ 1,396 – S$ 1,856 psf / S$ 1,589 psf
Perfect Ten 325 Bukit Timah Road
Phoenix Residences Phoenix Avenue, Choa Chu Kang 6.7% S$ 1,496 – S$ 1,536 psf / S$ 1,517 psf
Phoenix Villas 5 Phoenix Walk
Royal Oak Residence Anderson Road
Rymden 77 75, 77, 79 Lorong H Telok Kurau
Tedge 328-334 Changi Road 31% S$ 1,535 – S$ 1,742 psf / S$ 1,647 psf
The Atelier 2 Makeway Ave
The Avenir 8 River Valley Close 12.2% S$ 2,754 – S$ 3,328 psf / S$ 3,089 psf
The Landmark 173 Chin Swee Road 27.5% S$ 1,905 – S$ 2,591 psf / S$ 2,151 psf
The Linq @ Beauty World 110-122 Bukit Timah Road 98.3% S$ 1,998 – S$ 2,439 psf / S$ 2,188 psf
The M Middle Road 77.4% S$ 2,374 – S$ 2,913 psf / S$ 2,598 psf
The Ryse Residences Pasir Ris Central
Verdale 2 De Souza Ave, off Jln Jurong Kechil 21.7% S$ 1,606 – S$ 1,893 psf / S$ 1,720 psf
Van Holland 186 Holland Road 26.1% S$ 3,045 – S$ 3,045 psf / S$ 3,045 psf
Verticus 5 Jalan Kemaman 16% S$ 1,773 – S$ 2,221 psf / S$ 1,991 psf

Top 5 selling developments in 2020 

  1. Treasure at Tampines (836 units)
  2. Parc Clematis (545 units) 
  3. Jadescape (520 units)
  4. Clavon (471 units)
  5. The Florence Residences (418 units)

Top 5 non-landed private properties for resale gains in 2020

Project Name Transacted Price ($) Unit Price ($ psf) Sale Date Postal District Profitability
Gilstead Court $760,000 $547 2-Apr-99 11
Gilstead Court $2,388,000 $1,720 10-Sep-20 11 214.21%
Townhouse Apartments $570,000 $266 25-May-04 9
Townhouse Apartments $1,795,000 $838 25-Jun-20 9 214.91%
Lakeview Estate $395,500 $245 8-Nov-05 20
Lakeview Estate $1,400,000 $867 29-Jul-20 20 253.98%
Emerald Apartments $805,000 $462 15/7/05 9
Emerald Apartments $2,880,000 $1,652 10-Nov-20 9 257.76%
The Centrepoint $415,000 $559 4-Aug-04 9
The Centrepoint $1,900,000 $2,558 10-Jan-20 9 357.83%

Bottom 5 private properties for resale gains in 2020

Project Name Transacted Price ($) Unit Price ($ psf) Sale Date Profitability
Turquioise $5,426,960 $2,599 2-Nov-07
Turquioise $2,800,000 $1,341 25-Feb-20 -48.41%
Reflections at Keppel Bay $10,670,400 $2,769 5-Aug-08
Reflections at Keppel Bay $5,850,000 $1,518 21-Jul-20 -45.18%
The Azure $4,072,100 $2,149 12-Apr-11
The Azure $2,300,000 $1,214 1-Apr-20 -43.52%
Orchard Scotts $5,750,000 $2,520 5-May-08
Orchard Scotts $3,250,000 $1,424 16-Jun-20 -43.48%
The Sail @ Marina Bay $4,296,000 $3,001 2-Oct-07
The Sail @ Marina Bay $2,550,000 $1,781 6-Apr-20 -40.64%

Rental market for private non-landed properties 

Island-wide, leasing volumes fell by about 19.3 per cent, from 84,851 in 2019, to 68,446 in 2020.

In the CCR, leasing volume fell around 22.9 per cent, from 25,001 to 19,276.

In the RCR, leasing volume fell around 16.7 per cent, from 31,927 to 26,582.

In the OCR, leasing volume fell around 18.7 per cent, from 27,835 to 22,636.

Region Leasing volume Rental cost psf (2019) Rental cost (2020) Approx. gain / loss
Singapore 68,446 $3.44 $3.45 0.29%
CCR 19,276 $4.20 $4.16 – 0.95%
RCR 26,582 $3.45 $3.50 1.4%
OCR 22,636 $2.79 $2.82 1%

Top 5 developments for rental yield in 2020:

Project Tenure TOP Average rent psf Leasing volume Rental yield
The Hillford 60 years from 2013 2016 $4.64 124 4.8%
People’s Park Complex 99-years from1968 1972 $3.24 90 4.2%
Melville Park 99-years from 1992 1996 $2.29 342 4.1%
Northoaks 99-years from 1997 2000 $1.94 117 3.9%
Viva Vista Freehold 2014 $5.07 98 3.9%

Bottom 5 developments for rental yield in 2020:

Project Name Tenure TOP Average rent psf Leasing volume Rental yield
Yong An Park Freehold 1986 $2.82 35 1.8%
Pinewood Gardens Freehold 1990 $2.55 44 1.7%
Flame Tree Park Freehold 1989 $1.74 19 1.5%
Gilstead Court Freehold 1978 $2.07 13 1.5%
Kum Hing Court Freehold Unrecorded $2.07 41 1.1%

HDB resale market 

hdb resale transaction change

The total number of resale flat transactions rose by about 5.8 per cent in 2020. Total resale transactions numbered 21,923 units, up from 20,689 units last year. 

The number of 2-room flat transactions rose from 403 to 410, up 1.7 per cent.

3-room flat transactions fell from 5,057 units to 5,028 units, down about 0.57 per cent, while 4-room flat transactions rose from 8,655 units to 9,169 units; up around 5.7 per cent. 

5-room flat transactions rose from 5,037 units to 5,571 units, up 10 per cent, while Executive flat transactions rose from 1,513 units to 1,710 units, up 12.2 per cent. 

There were only five recorded transactions for 3Gen flats in 2020, down from 12 transactions the year before. 

Flat size Transaction volume Price psf (2019) Price psf (2020) Approx. gain / loss
All flats 21,923 $417 $432 3.5%
2-room 410 $461 $471 2.1%
3-room 5,028 $411 $428 4%
4-room 9,169 $423 $439 3.7%
5-room 5,571 $416 $427 2.6%
Executive  1,710 $397 $406 2.2%
3Gen  5 $463 $421 – 9.5%

Rental market for HDB flats

Leasing volumes fell 21 per cent across the board, from 42,975 in 2019 to 34,794 in 2020. 

Leasing volume for 3-room flats fell 19.2 per cent, from 13,631 units to 11,241 units.

Leasing volume for 4-room flats fell close to 20 per cent, from 14,935 to 12,221 units.

Leasing volume for 5-room flats fell 22.9 per cent, from 10,981 to 8,722 units.

Leasing volume for executive flats fell 30 per cent, from 2,841 to 2,098 units.

Flat size Transaction volume Price psf (2019) Price psf (2020) Approx. gain / loss
All flats 34,794 $2.08 $2.12 1.9%
3-room 11,214 $2.59 $2.65 2.3%
4-room 12,221 $2.12 $2.14 0.9%
5-room 8,722 $1.54 $1.56 1.3%
Executive  2,098 $1.30 $1.31 0.76%

All BTO launch sites of 2020

Town Name BTO Name Launch Date
Sembawang Canberra Vista 11 Feb 2020
Toa Payoh Kim Keat Ripples 11 Feb 2020
Toa Payoh Toa Payoh Ridge 11 Feb 2020
Choa Chu Kang Keat Hong Verge 12 Aug 2020
Tengah Parc Residences @ Tengah 12 Aug 2020
Woodlands Champions Bliss 12 Aug 2020
Woodlands UrbanVille @ Woodlands 12 Aug 2020
Ang Mo Kio Kebun Baru Edge 12 Aug 2020
Bishan Bishan Towers 12 Aug 2020
Geylang Dakota One 12 Aug 2020
Pasir Ris Costa Grove 12 Aug 2020
Tampines Tampines GreenCrest 12 Aug 2020
Tampines Tampines GreenGlade 12 Aug 2020
Tampines Tampines GreenOpal 12 Aug 2020
Sembawang Sun Sails 17 Nov 2020
Tengah Garden Court @ Tengah 17 Nov 2020
Tengah Garden Terrace @ Tengah 17 Nov 2020
Bishan Bishan Ridges 17 Nov 2020
Tampines Tampines GreenEmerald 17 Nov 2020
Toa Payoh Bartley Beacon 17 Nov 2020
Toa Payoh ParkView @ Bidadari 17 Nov 2020

Executive Condominium (EC) launches in 2020

There were three EC launches in 2020, and Parc Central Residences was announced; sales for Parc Central Residences have not yet begun or been recorded at this time of writing.

EC Location Est. TOP Take-up rate Indicative pricing / Average pricing
OLA Anchorvale Crescent 14 Dec. 2023 38% $1011 – $1,303 psf / $1,152 psf
Parc Canberra Canberra Walk 9 Sep. 2023 87.1% $967 – $1.165 psf / $1,099 psf
Piermont Grand Sumang Walk 28 Feb. 2023 81.5% $945 – $1,233 psf / $1,121 psf
Parc Central Residences Tampines Ave. 10 Q2 2023

Policy measures / changes in 2020

  • URA restricts the re-issue of Options to Purchase (OTPs)
  • Extension on construction deadlines
  • End of mortgage deferments 
  • Upcoming changes for sale of flats in prime areas 

1. URA restricts the re-issue of Options to Purchase (OTPs)

The full details of this can be found in our earlier article.

URA has barred the practice of developers repeatedly re-issuing lapsed OTPs. Prior to this, it was a common practice for developers to re-issue OTPs, when they lapsed after 21 days. Developers would continue to do so, until the buyer could secure the funds needed.

Under the new rules, developers cannot re-issue the OTP for the same property, to the same buyer, within 12 weeks of the earlier OTP expiring. 

Developers also cannot make upfront agreements or promises to renew the lapsed OTPs, as they did before (e.g. marketing it as a “reservation scheme”).

This policy change will mainly affect upgraders, who made the most use of re-issued OTPs. For example, it used to be common for upgraders to secure the OTP first, and then have the developer repeatedly renew it until they were able to sell their previous home. 

The policy change does allow the OTP to have an extended validity period (up to 12 weeks instead of 21 days), but this still places greater urgency on the sale of the previous home. 

The change is likely to lower the number of recorded transactions. This is because most transactions are recorded as soon as the OTP is secured – but it’s not recorded if the same units are later returned (i.e. not bought after the OTP lapses).

2. Extension on construction deadlines

In November 2020, developers received a universal four-month extension to complete projects. 

This will extend developers’ deadlines for purposes such as the Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) for developers. The ABSD for developers imposes a 30 per cent tax if projects are not completed and sold out within five years, and the ABSD deadline can sometimes lead to fire sales. 

For individual home buyers, it’s important to consult your conveyancing lawyers on how this will impact the expected completion date. You may not be entitled to liquidated damages, if delays fall within the stipulated four-month extension. 

Delays in construction, along with renovations, may cause some buyers to favour resale over new units in the coming year; especially if the move-in date, or the date when landlords can start renting out, is vital. 

3. End of mortgage deferments 

Home owners were allowed to defer mortgage payments (in whole or deferred interest-only) between April to December 2020. 

It’s uncertain if authorities will extend the deferment period for 2021, but there has been no news to date. This is likely on a wait-and-see basis, with another round of deferments only if we see more mortgagee sales, missed home loan repayments, etc.

4. Upcoming changes for sale of flats in prime areas 

We have more details of this topic in an earlier article. 

In future, flats in prime areas may face resale restrictions, to mitigate the “lottery effect”. This seems to be a response to the rising number of million-dollar flats, of which there were a record 71 transactions in 2020, as well as preparation for the Greater Southern Waterfront project. 

The exact nature of restrictions has not been made clear, although we’re likely to hear more in 2021. This is likely to have significant impact on the value of existing resale flats in certain areas, such as Tiong Bahru. 

Notable trends that emerged in 2020

  • An inflection point for the HDB resale market
  • More focus on overall price than price per square foot
  • HDB upgraders likely to be the main group of buyers 
  • Low home loan rates

1. An inflection point for the HDB resale market 

In 2020, the HDB resale market decided to do this:

hdb resale singapore property market 2020
Source: Squarefoot Research

This marked the first significant uptick in HDB resale prices, that we’ve seen in around seven years. The pick-up happened after the Circuit Breaker, and simply didn’t stop climbing – we wrote a more detailed explanation on this earlier in year, when we said Covid-19 may have ended up being a boon to resale flats. 

HDB resale prices are still far from their last peak in 2013 ($478 psf), but they’re now only about 12.7 per cent down from this number:

hdb resale prices singapore property market 2020
Source: Squarefoot Research

The uptick is supported by new rules regarding CPF usage, that come from 2019. It’s easier for buyers to use their CPF for older flats, and to get full loans even if there’s 60 or fewer years on the lease; this continues to provide price support to resale flats. 

In addition, we’ve mentioned a bumper crop of flats reaching their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). This will raise the supply of newer resale flats – those that are only five years old and still far from the impact of lease decay. These units will be attractive to buyers who need a home immediately, and we could see HDB resale volumes continue to climb into 2021.

2. More focus on overall price than price per square foot

Condos such as The M, Midtown Bay, and Penrose would have made buyers balk in the past, with their higher price per square foot. 

The M, for instance, had units that reached up to $3,000 psf; but it still sold fast, due to a low quantum. Some of the one-bedders cost under $1 million; a very low price for the Middle Road / Bugis area.

However, this trend may change in coming years, given the main buyer demographic we’re seeing (see below). We’d also be concerned with the impact of Covid-19 on prospective tenant pools, as many of these centrally located, shoebox units are mainly purchased to be rented out. 

3. HDB upgraders likely to be the main group of buyers 

As part of an ongoing trend since 2019, it is HDB upgraders who make up a large buyer demographic. Their numbers are likely to increase even further in the year or two ahead, due to the large number of resale flats reaching MOP (see above). 

This can run contrary to the trend for shoebox units, with a low quantum but high price psf. HDB upgraders are often families, and one or two-bedder condo bedders are usually too small for them. As such, the rise of this demographic – along with foreign worker numbers hampered by Covid-19 – might reverse the trend for shoebox units that we saw this year. 

4. Low home loan rates

Due to the United States cutting interest rates till 2022, home loan rates in Singapore have also fallen. It’s now possible to get home loans for as low as 1.2 to 1.3 per cent per annum; about half the HDB loan rate of 2.6 per cent. 

The rates are likely to rise in the coming year, as banks raise their spread to compensate. However, the cheap loan rates will prompt some buyers to abandon fixed or board rate loans, and instead pick SIBOR loans. 

It’s also possible that we’ll see more HDB flat buyers opt for bank loans. While HDB loan rates fluctuate less, they have also had higher interest than bank loans since around 2009. Some flat owners may feel a bit “burned” by this point, and may seek to refinance.

Overall, the property market is in a good place despite the turmoil of 2020 – or perhaps because of it. 

The interest in real estate – such as the surge in landed home transactions in October – may be due to investors seeking safe haven assets. It’s possible that investors who currently shy away from the more volatile stock market are turning their attention to property, as we saw during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). 

It certainly helps that low interest rates make home loans very cheap, while also lowering bond yields; it’s another enticement for investors to turn their eyes toward the property market. 

That said, we’re still far from smooth waters, as the impact of Covid-19 hasn’t yet fully sunk in. We don’t know, for instance, if mortgagee sales will rise when mortgage deferments end; nor can we predict the economic situation in other countries that could affect Singapore. 

For more updates on the property market and development reviews, follow us on Stacked. We’ll keep you up to date as the changes happen.

And from the team at Stacked, have a Happy New Year!

The post The Singapore Property Market 2020: Key Highlights And Trends appeared first on Property Blog Singapore – Stacked Homes.

Compare listings