Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Irrational Exuberance in the Singapore Property Market

Once upon a time in singapore, $800,000 would buy you a nice 1,200 sq ft condo in a decent location with full condo facilities. If you lived in one of these apartments, you would have been considered a relatively rich person and would have obtained one of the key achievements in the Singapore dream.

Fast forward to the present, however, and things are completely different. Today, the same $800,000 gets you only half the amount of space you would have gotten 10 years ago.
3-bedroom condo unit smaller than a squash court

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012, Asia0ne

A new condominium in Bukit Batok is one of the smallest 3-bedroom unit to be built in singapore.

Measuring just 635 sq ft, the unit at Natura at Hillview Terrace is smaller than a squash court and slightly bigger than five HDB carpark spaces, reported The Straits Times.

A typical three-bedroom apartment is between 1,000 and 1,500 sq ft, said real estate consultants, and it is unheard of for a mass market project here to have three-bedroom units of such a compact size.

... Another company's projects, Treescape in Telok Kurau, also features micro three-bedders which start from 603 sq ft.

According to The straits Times, all 32 units have been sold since the project was launch, of which 25 units were sold last month at a median price of $1,401 per sq ft.

... Mr Tan Kok Keong from orangeTee's head of research and consultancy used Hong Kong as an example on whether such units will be well-received by the public.

He told The straits Times: "If you use Hong Kong as an example, yes it's liveable, but whether it's the kind of quality of life that people can get used to is something we actually won't know until the project is completed."

The skyrocketing cost of land in singapore has caused property sizes to shrink tremendously. That anyone would purchase such tiny 3-room apartments was unthinkable 10 years ago, as was the possibility of shoebox apartments having any significant market. Yet today, these properties sell like hot pancakes on a cold winter's afternoon.

You would have thought that after the massive surge in property prices (the condo price index has risen about 100% in the last 5 years), and the implementation of cooling measures by the Government, some sort of rationality would return to the market. Instead, property prices continue to hit new highs, and developers continue to roll out tiny, 'liveable' apartments, and singaporeans flock to showrooms to lap them up!

The property price surge was anchored on an immigration influx and stagnant property supply. But rising prices have taken on a life of their own and speculative excess is taking over momentum initially started by a supply demand imbalance. Low interest rates and sur9ing bank credit are adding fuel to the manic fire, and my take on the situation is that we are now in the throes of a full-fledged property bubble.

Hold on to your seat belts, singapore. Irrational exuberance has taken over the market. Property prices are at crazy levels right now and but you never know, they could go even higher. But sooner or later the property bubble is going to burst. Some economic shock, internal or external, is going to burst this bubble, and when that happens many, many people are going to be hurt.

If you are holding an investment property right now I advise you to offload it while you still can and take profits and not be greedy. And if you are thinking of buying a property right now I would advise you to try to rent instead of saddling yourself with a huge mortgage which might cause you to go into negative equity in the not so distant future when property prices slump.

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Precious said...
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