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Resale condos going for under $1m - and not all are shoebox units

Resale condos going for under $1m - and not all are shoebox units.

Developers may be grumbling about the cooling measures, but for buyers they mean bargains can be found in the private home resale market - at $1 million or even less.

For instance, the proportion of freehold or 999-year leasehold homes resold at this price point rose from just 6 per cent from 2010 to the end of 2013, to 17 per cent in the period from 2014 to this month.

The tide has now turned, several years after the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) was implemented in mid-2013.

In 2010 to 2012, $1 million was a sort of standard or expected price to pay, and it was unlikely buyers could get something good for less than that. Now, opportunistic buyers are referencing it as a ceiling price. They are scouring for properties significantly lower than $1 million. It is still not easy to get these deals, but definitely much easier than before, noted an analyst. These value buys are typically found on the resale market, he said.

Some units under $1 million
Project Name Street Tenure Area (sqft) Asking Price ($) Asking Price ($/psf)
Azalea Park Condominium Flora Road 999 years 1,314 990,000 753
Biss Loft Kim Keat Close Freehold 797 960,000 1,025
Changi Court Upper Changi Road East Freehold 969 950,000 980
Citylights Jellicoe Road 99 years 560 970,000 1,732
Domus Irrawaddy Road Freehold 494 900,000 1,822
Gillenia Rosyth Road 999 years 872 930,000 1,067
Haig 162 Haig Road Freehold 581 925,000 1,592
JLB Residences Jalan Loyang Besar 999 years 958 899,999 939
RiverBay Mar Thoma Road 999 years 785 961,000 1,224
The Bayshore Bayshore Road 99 years 980 980,000 1,000

Property owners who bought before home prices spiked from about 2010 can still make a profit, even in current weakened property market conditions. Even those who bought from 2010 to 2012 may still be able to break even as prices peaked in 2013.

The price gap between resale properties and recently completed or new projects is still about 20 per cent or 25 per cent.

However, buying a resale property also means financing kicks in immediately, which means a buyer who is an investor must contend with the soft leasing market.

According to SRX data, projects in or near the central region with units going for less than $1 million include Citylights in Jalan Besar, Domus and The Tier in Novena, The Interweave in Balestier, RiverBay in Bendemeer, RV Edge in Tanglin and Wilkie 80 in Dhoby Ghaut.

In the popular East Coast, such projects include Questa @ Dunman and The Bayshore in Upper East Coast. Other bargains may be found in the auction market, where more mortgagee sales are taking place.

Since the start of the fourth quarter of last year, units on auction with opening prices of less than $1 million included a 527 sq ft unit at the freehold Dunearn Suites, an owner's sale; and the mortgagee sale of a 790 sq ft walk-up apartment in Tiong Bahru.

Mortgagee sales should be on a stable uptrend this year and potentially exceed 270 in number, more than the number recorded during the global financial crisis in 2008.

The rising interest rate will add further strain on borrowers, particularly for those holding multiple properties. However, the numbers are not expected to spike as the employment rate in Singapore remains high, enabling most owners to service their mortgage loans.

Adapted from: The Straits Times, 22 February 2016