14th February to 20th February 2023
New private home sales, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), surged 130% to 391 units month-on-month (MoM) in January 2023, from 170 units in December 2022. Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Development (MND) expects the increased CPF Housing Grant for HDB resale flats to benefit more than 10,000 first-time homebuyers across its first year of implementation.
1. New private home sales soared 130% in January 2023
New private home sales, excluding ECs, surged 130% to 391 units in January 2023 from 170 units in December 2022, reported CNA, citing Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data.
The spike in sales was attributed to the launch of new projects, particularly Sceneca Residence which accounted for 40.2% of January 2023’s total private home sales, and the return of mainland Chinese buyers.
On an annual basis, however, new private home sales declined 42.8%.
The Outside Central Region (OCR) emerged as the most popular region among buyers, with 185 units sold in January 2023. The Core Central Region (CCR) and the Rest of the Central Region (RCR) saw 158 and 48 units sold, respectively.
Meanwhile, acquisitions by foreigners increased 58.3% MoM to 57 units in January 2023.
Lee Sze Teck, Senior Director of Research at Huttons Asia, said super wealthy Chinese were believed to be behind some of the acquisitions at Klimt Cairnhill, where 14 of the 17 units sold went to foreigners.
2. Increased CPF housing grant for HDB resale flats to benefit over 10,000 first-time buyers
MND expects the increased CPF housing grant for HDB resale efforts to benefit more than 10,000 first-time homebuyers during its first year of implementation, reported The Business Times.
The Government has increased the housing grant for first-time buyers of resale HDB flats, with eligible families getting up to $80,000 when they purchase 4-room or smaller flats, and up to $50,000 for larger flats.
For first-timer singles, the CPF housing grant will go up to $40,000 for 4-room and smaller flats, and $25,000 for bigger flats, said CNA.
To be eligible, applicants should not have received any housing subsidy before and should have a monthly income of $14,000 and below for families, and $7,000 and below for singles.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mr Lawrence Wong also revealed plans during his Budget 2023 statement to further finetune HDB’s BTO balloting to help first-timer families with children and young married couples aged 40 and below.
The measures, which include an increase in the number of BTO projects launched, are aimed at alleviating the high resale flat prices and long waiting times for BTO flats.
Related article: Budget 2023 Singapore: Increased BSD Rates, More CPF Housing Grants, and More
3. Increased CPF housing grant may shift demand to the HDB resale market
Analysts believe the additional CPF housing grant may shift some demand towards buying HDB resale flats, easing demand for BTO flats and smaller private properties, reported CNA.
They pointed out that while the measures came as a welcome relief for families and singles looking to buy resale flats, the extra grants could also lead to rising HDB resale flat prices.
This comes as sellers will likely ask for higher prices or hold tight to their asking prices, knowing that prospective buyers have been given additional funds, said International Property Advisor Director Ku Swee Yong in another article posted by CNA.
Meanwhile, MND shared that the Government is “mindful” of the additional grants’ potential impact in a buoyant resale market – that is why it was not offered to all resale buyers.
According to Dr Tan Tee Khoon, Country Manager – Singapore, PropertyGuru, demand for the Singapore property market is expected to be bolstered by the increase in CPF housing grants for HDB resale flats and will likely be propped up by these first-time buyers, especially for 4-room and smaller flats.
“The introduction of higher housing grants for first-time HDB resale flat buyers will likely stabilise the real estate market and shield it from hard landings. As a result, the HDB resale flat prices are likely to be supported in the immediate term.”
Paul Wee, Vice President – PropertyGuru Finance, highlights that the increased CPF housing grant amount will also reduce loan amounts and provide “some financial relief for those who can only finance their property via loans from financial institutions”.
4. Additional ballot for prioritised first-timer BTO applicants “a fairer move”
Analysts described the additional BTO ballot provided to families with children and young married couples aged 40 and below who are first-timer BTO applicants as more straightforward and fairer than allocating more flats for them.
This is because the size of the target group (i.e. first-timer BTO applicants) may not be very big and the demography of BTO applicants may vary across precincts, they said.
Currently, first-timer applicants get two ballot chances when vying for a ballot number to select a BTO flat, while second-timers receive one ballot.
TODAY reported that the new sub-category of first-timer applicants – which comprises families with children and married couples aged 40 and below – will get three ballot chances.
Dr Tan said the additional ballot chances do not mean that other applicants will have a lower chance of securing a flat.
“The extra ballot chances would work in tandem with existing priority schemes as these (schemes) have not been set aside,” he said.
5. Government imposes higher Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) for residential and non-residential properties
The Government introduced a higher BSD rate for residential and non-residential properties.
For residential properties, a 5% BSD will be imposed on the portion of the value over $1.5 million and up to $3 million and a 6% BSD for any value over $3 million.
For non-residential properties, the portion of the value over $1 million and up to $1.5 million will be taxed at 4%, while the value over $1.5 million will be taxed at 5%.
The changes – which are projected to affect 15% of homes and 60% of non-residential properties – are expected to generate additional revenue of $500 million per year, said Mr Lawrence Wong.
Analysts believe the hike in BSD is not excessive, with buyers being able to pay for such a marginal increase, said CNA.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said the Additional Conveyance Duties (ACD) for Buyers when acquiring stakes in property holding entities will also be raised to 46% from 44% previously.
According to Dr Lee Nai Jia, Head of Real Estate Intelligence, Data and Software Solutions, PropertyGuru Group, this adjustment will likely be most keenly felt by those buying higher-priced, luxury properties. Still, well-heeled buyers may proceed with their purchases, given the appeal of Singapore properties as a safe haven to park wealth in.
“The adjusted BSD taxes will likely cause some knee-jerk reactions to private property purchases as buyers re-calibrate their positions. Sales in the coming months are also likely to moderate as buyers reframe their expectations. However, the impact of the BSD adjustment may not be significant in the long term as the extra amount for a $2 million property is small.”
Related article: Buyer’s Stamp Duty Guide for Singapore Property Buyers (2023)
6. Horizon Towers relaunched for collective sale, price unchanged at $1.1 billion
Source: Google Maps
Horizon Towers has once again been relaunched for collective sale, with the reserve price unchanged at $1.1 billion, reported The Business Times.
Inclusive of a lease top-up premium of $277 million, the price works out to a land rate of $2,049 per sq ft per plot ratio (PSF ppr). This is lowered to $1,862 PSF ppr after factoring in the 10% bonus gross floor area.
No land betterment charge is payable for the site’s intensification.
With an ‘as-built’ approved gross plot ratio of around 3.28228, the District 9 development occupies a 1.9-hectare (ha) elevated site that is zoned for residential use under the 2019 URA Master Plan with a height limit of up to 36 storeys.
The development has been offered for collective sale several times, with the last tender closing in October 2022 with no buyer.
The latest tender for Horizon Towers will close on 30 March 2023.
7. The Cathay is to close temporarily in August 2023 for a major revamp
National monument The Cathay will temporarily close its doors in August 2023 for its first major revamp since 2003, reported CNA.
In a release, Cathay Organisation shared that the redevelopment will take about 1.5 years to complete, with the mall slated to reopen before Christmas in 2024.
It added that tenants of the mall have been informed of the revitalisation works and will move out by 18 August 2023.
Residents of The Cathay, occupying the building’s sixth to 17th floors, will be unaffected and can access their homes via a private main entrance on Mount Sophia.
Established in 1939, the Cathay’s revamp is in line with the planned facelift of Dhoby Ghaut and its surrounding area, said a spokesperson for The Cathay, adding that the building will remain at the forefront of the city-state’s changing landscape.
8. GS Building sold for $67 million
GS Building, a three-storey industrial building located at 16, 18 and 20 Lorong Ampas, has been sold en bloc for $67 million to JVA Venture, revealed Edmund Tie.
Located along the Whampoa River and Whampoa Park Connector, the freehold building occupies a 3,426.7 sq m (36,885 sq ft) site that is zoned for Business 1 use under the 2019 URA Master Plan with a plot ratio of 2.5.
The site offers planning flexibility to be rezoned for residential use with a plot ratio of 2.8, subject to the approval of relevant authorities.
Edmund Tie shared that JVA Venture intends to redevelop the site into a premier industrial building.
9. Three shophouses at Buona Vista Road are up for sale
Three freehold shophouses at 30, 32 and 38 South Buona Vista Road have been launched for sale via expression of interest (EOI), revealed exclusive marketing agent CBRE.
30 and 32 South Buona Vista Road are adjoining shophouses that occupy a combined land area of 3,212 sq ft, with a combined existing floor area of around 6,323 sq ft. The two shophouses are priced at $13 million or $2,055 PSF based on their total floor area.
38 South Buona Vista Road, on the other hand, is a corner shophouse with a land area of 2,171 sq ft and an existing floor area of about 4,176 sq ft. It is offered for $9 million or $2,155 PSF on the total floor area.
CBRE noted that the two-storey non-conservation shophouses – which are all fully tenanted – can be acquired individually or collectively.
The EOI exercise for the shophouses closes on 22 March 2023.
10. Bukit Timah shophouse on sale for $14.5 million
A freehold non-conservation shophouse at 8 Sixth Avenue in Bukit Timah has been put up for sale via EOI with a guide price of $14.5 million, revealed exclusive marketing agent Savills Singapore.
With a floor area of around 3,183 sq ft, the two-storey corner shophouse occupies a 2,451 sq ft site that is zoned for Residential with Commercial at 1st storey use under the 2019 URA Master Plan.
The ground floor has “part F&B approval as a restaurant and part takeaway shop as a bakery”, while the second floor is vacant.
Since the property is approved as a commercial school, prospective buyers can explore various uses for the second floor including educational, healthcare, medical, fitness centre, showrooms, retail, and home and living lifestyle businesses, subject to the authority’s approval.
The EOI exercise for the shophouse closes on 21 March 2023.
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Marcus Lee, Content Executive at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.