Property auction sales value 'lowest in 15 years'

Published on Dec 15, 2012

By Dennis Chan Deputy Money Editor

THE Singapore property auction market is ending the year on a quiet note, with only 24 properties worth $62.4 million sold all year out of 377 put up.

Although Dec31 is still over two weeks away, no auction is on the cards that could raise the numbers for this year.

The dollar amount represents a 34.7 per cent drop from last year and is also the lowest in 15 years, according to property consultant Colliers International.

Even the Asian financial crisis in 1998 and the global financial crisis of 2008 saw higher auction sales at $135.7 million and $83.7 million respectively.

Said Colliers deputy managing director Grace Ng: "The decline in the total sale value was due to, among other things, the series of cooling measures being implemented by the Government in the residential sector - the latest one being effective from October 2012, which resulted in a lacklustre secondary residential market and thinner interest in the high-end, luxury residential market."

There is a standoff between buyers and sellers in the secondary residential market.

She explained that owners are reluctant to sell their properties, unless the prices fetched allow them to make another property investment.

Owners also have strong holding power owing to prevailing low interest rates, as well as the healthy rental market in the mass residential sector that has enabled them to service their loans.

"Buyers, on the other hand, have also been reluctant to commit to high prices for properties in the secondary market due to a run-up in prices since 2009. Instead, they have adopted a wait-and-see attitude - in the hope for a price adjustment, in view of the continued implementation of the Government's cooling measures, the euro-zone crisis and the impending slowdown in GDP growth."

Of the 377 properties put up for sale, only 24 or 6.4 per cent were mortgagee sales.

This ratio is also a record low in 15 years, said Colliers.

The number of high-value transactions - those valued $5 million and above - was sharply curtailed, with only three such properties sold for the entire year, worth a total of $25.5 million.

This is a drop of 20.4 per cent compared to $32.1 million registered last year.

Nonetheless, these high-value transactions contributed to 40.9 per cent of the total sale value.

The highest price of the lot was a petrol kiosk at Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim that was knocked down at $12.7 million.

Thanks to this deal, Jones Lang LaSalle claimed overall leadership in the auction market, with a market share of 52per cent.

However, Jones Lang LaSalle suggested the total value of property auction sales this year was $57.9 million, slightly less than the figure provided by Colliers.

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