Jun 07, 2010

In July 2009 I predicted a sharp increase in prices in the prime Marina Bay View units. At that time you could find some good units in the range of S$1,800 (US$1,305) per square foot to a bit over S$2,000 (US$1,450) psf. Prices have skyrocketed some 60-70 per cent since then.

In December 2009 I wrote ‘The only way is up for Singapore Luxury Property‘. It addressed the burning issue at that time about the possible impact, if any, of the Singapore Government’s efforts to cool the real estate market. At that time there talk that the party was over. I said the opposite will happen as the measures were not targeted at the luxury market. And it turned out to be true – big time! For example, asking prices for high floor units with a Marina Bay view at The Sail were around S$2,300 (US$1,665) to S$2,500 (US$1,810) psf. Now asking prices are between S$2,900 (US$2,100) and S$3,500 (US$2,535) psf – a rise of 30 per cent and more in six months.

The most common question I’m asked is ‘Will prices continue galloping at a similar pace?’

My take is not any more. Prices will settle-up, reaching the next psychological barrier of S$4,000 (US$2,900) psf for the next year or so.

These are my top five picks with strong upsides.

The Sail.

Why so? With the upcoming June opening and the finishing of construction at Marina Bay Sands, the Marina Bay front view facing units will be the prime of the prime investments for many years to come. The Bay facing units comprise only 10 per cent of the 1,111 total units, a very definite and limited number. Furthermore, many of the the front facing units are around 1,000 sqf, making them the perfect investment at a relatively smaller quantum. Other units in The Sail will also benefit from the buzz of Marina Bay.

Marina Bay Residences.

With the Marina Bay view units I’ve reached the same verdict as The Sail, though these are bigger units and a bigger quantum, but there’s still limited supply and the sky’s the limit. Some units in Marina Bay Suites with better views will get the spill over from these two Marina bay front view projects.

Landed properties in Sentosa.

A limited supply and the only landed property available to foreigners will make this sought-after for years to come.

St Regis Residences.

The only branded property on the market, with the only 6-star hotel adjacent to the Residences it’s still underpriced compared to other well located but bland properties. St Regis will be very appealing to the rich and wealthy arriving in Singapore, with the current property surge and the openings of the IRs.

Conservation shop-houses in popular locations for recreational, retail and F&B, such as along Victoria Street and other happening hubs.

Why so? There is a very finite supply, yet the charm of the begone era makes it very appealing for customers and patrons, hence the upside for operators who pay higher rents and increase returns.

Quick Peek: The China Effect

As the Chinese government acts to curb possible overheating in the real estate market, what about the possibility of a property bubble forming? My take is that it’s less speculative than most analysts suspect, because there are many people in Asia who are climbing the socio-economical ladder and will be buying properties as soon as they reach the capability to do so.