Landed properties still in hot demand

Their prices have outperformed those of private flats since 2010

Published on Jul 28, 2012

By Amanda Tan

LANDED home prices moved up a notch in the second quarter as demand for the pricey properties stayed buoyant.

Values increased 0.4 per cent from the previous three months, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) index out yesterday.

Terraced homes showed the largest increase at 1.2 per cent, followed by semi-detached at 0.6 per cent, while detached homes declined by 0.4 per cent.

Property consultants noted that landed home prices have outperformed those of private flats since the third quarter of 2010.

Over the last seven years, prices of such homes have doubled, said Knight Frank research head Png Poh Soon. They are perceived as better investment 'given the limited supply of landed properties in land-scarce Singapore with a growing population, rising affluence of local families and influx of new wealthy citizens'.

One example of the robust sector can be found at [email protected] goon Garden where buyers have snapped up 39 out of 50 landed houses released in just two weeks.

The two-storey homes - with an attic and basement - developed by City Developments and Hong Realty do not come cheap. A 1,615 sq ft intermediate terraced unit goes for at least $2.4 million while at least $2.8 million is needed for a 2,284 sq ft corner home.

Mr Png noted that landed prices have 'risen substantially' since the second quarter of 2009, rising nearly 80 per cent by the second quarter this year.

Terraced homes had the highest price increase of 84 per cent over that three-year period.

Detached house prices were up 83 per cent while semi-detached home prices rose 71 per cent.

Terraced homes in the west - favoured for its lower absolute prices - have risen 97 per cent in the past three years while those in the east and north-east were up 89 per cent, Mr Png said.

'Demand for terraced homes has increased along with rising mass affluence of local buyers, who upgrade their homes for larger living spaces... and to capitalise on the current low favourable interest rates,' said Mr Png.

Savills Singapore data reveals a similar rosy picture. Research head Alan Cheong said that over the last decade, landed prices have grown at an average of 7 per cent a year, exceeding the increases for apartments and condos.

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng pointed to a 20 per cent dip in prices between July 2008 and June 2009 but they have picked up at least 70 per cent since. He cited a 1,701 sq ft terraced house in Frankel Estate that was sold for $2.9 million in March, well up on the $1.55 million it went for last year.

Consultants said demand for landed properties is expected to stay resilient.

'The outlook is excellent... As more private properties are derived from government land sales, the limited pool of freehold landed properties find their share of the total housing stock shrink over time,' Mr Cheong said. It 'pays for upgraders to aspire to move into this type of housing' as the relatively quick capital gains 'will make it a superior hedge against not only inflation but also against social-class stagnation'.

But Mr Ong said well-heeled buyers may look to non-landed homes in prime locations for their better rental yields and demand.

Property investor Magdalene Lee, 54, bought a house at [email protected] Garden for about $2.4 million on the first day of its launch. 'I thought the price was reasonable, and within my budget... It works out to less than $700 per sq ft, cheaper than some condos asking for $1,000 psf,' she said. 'It'll also be easy to rent out because it's near international schools, in a new neighbourhood but established residential area.'

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