Earlier in 2016, we have seen five different executive condominium (EC) projects open to market with over a total number of 2,600 residential apartments being offered. The headliner projects, both Wandervale and Treasure Crest, were the gem of the local property and construction hotshot, Sim Lian group. They were the master behind these 2 projects with 534 and 504 residential respectively.
Opened for sale in July 2016, Treasure Crest is now fully sold, earning it the accolade – the top selling executive condominium in 2016. As matter of fact, more than 70 percent of the residential units in Treasure Crest was sold on its first week of sales around the average price of $710 per square foot. These respectable sales figures were attained against the lackluster sales of the property market and especially the executive condominium (EC) segment of the market.
As we moved on to the year 2017, the other major property company MCL Land, sold more than 70 units in December with its maiden executive condominium project, Sol Acres, at Choa Chu Kang. This project comprises over 1327 residential units and it is the largest executive condominium till date.
If you not familiar with the property market in Singapore, Executive Condominiums (ECs) are a form of hybrid public housing with the HDB rules regulations in place for the initial purchasers and that these HDB restrictions will be completely lifted 10 years after an EC project has been completed.
Unlike its private residential condominiums, the supply of ECs is very limited, and the only source of new EC sites is from the Government under their Government Land Sales Programme (GLS). There has been no new parcels that are released for Executive Condominiums (even on the confirmed list in the past two GLS exercises). Bearing in mind the 15-month waiting period from acquiring the site and market launch of the project that developers have to adhere to, ECs will be in short supply in 2017 and 2018. Only three new EC projects are expected to be launched this year, compared to five last year.
The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will be rolling out their Build-to-Order (BTO) flats with minimal construction time by commencing construction prior to their sales launch. This is in bid to assist first-time property owners to shorten their waiting time. The estimated wait will be shorten to around two and half years instead of the existing four to five years. As a matter of fact, these first-time home owners will enjoy the privilege on securing their choice apartments as the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will set aside at least 90% of the four-room or larger flat types for them – an increment of 10% from the current quota in non-mature estates. This announced by the Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on 7th March 2017 as part of the measures to help first-time HDB buyers get their flats earlier.
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong also introduced a new type of sale for the existing unsold HDB apartments. These unsold units will instead be offered to the public after the Sales of Balance at regular intervals with priority given to first time owners. The said method of sales will be offered for balloting in a single pool, instead of the regular selection sorted by the different towns or apartment types. The first round of this exercise will be introduced in the second half of this year 2017.
To ensure every one gets a flat
Earlier in Febraury, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget 2017 statement that the Central Provident Fund’s (CPF) Housing Grant had been raised to $50,000 for first-timer couples buying fourroom or smaller HDB flats from the resale market. For those who purchase five-room or bigger flats, the grant has been raised to $40,000. The CPF Housing Grant was previously capped at $30,000. Including the Additional CPF Housing Grant, capped at $40,000, and the Proximity Housing Grant, capped at $20,000, first-timer couples can now receive up to $110,000 in subsidies..
Many now expects HDB resale transaction to increase because the resale apartments are now more affordable and is likely to shift the focus of the buyers from the Build-to-Order (BTO) or Executive Condominiums segments to the resale market or even private condominiums like Sturdee Residences. PropertyGuru Lim also believes that the announcement “will help to nudge prices upwards; particularly for resale HDB flats with excellent attributes, in locations where sellers are few.”