Singapore’s wave of residential collective sales, totalling S$5.88 billion ($4.12 billion) across 15 major deals this year, is poised to intensify further with another 50 to 60 potential en bloc sales in the pipeline, according to a report released today.
The study by global property consultancy Colliers International finds that Singapore may be less than a third of the way through a collective sale mania that could crest in 2018 and continue into 2019, as developers vie for scarce plots of land in the city-state.
The flurry of deals shows no signs of abating, with property group Chip Eng Seng Corporation announcing today that its subsidiary CEL Real Estate Development has beat eight other bidders to win the tender to buy Changi Garden, an 84-unit retail and residential project for S$248.8 million ($183.5 million).
The site will be redeveloped into a low-rise condo property with about 320 units, the company said. CEL’s offer was 27 percent above the asking price, netting each owner between between S$2.14 million ($1.58 million) and S$2.27 million ($1.67 million) – despite the site’s location opposite a prison in eastern Singapore.
En Bloc Fever Returns to Singapore
Collective sales involve the sale of housing units under multiple ownership to a single buyer – typically a developer aiming to redevelop an ageing property on underutilised land. The popular Singaporean practice has a history, with a previous collective sale boom taking place from 2005 to 2007.
The mass-sale market began to pick up again in late 2016, when three group deals totalling S$1 billion ($700 million) were transacted. But it was the sale of Rio Casa – a privatised estate originally built by Singapore’s Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDC) – for S$575 million ($415.3 million) this past May that launched the current en bloc wave in earnest.
Considering that the last collective sale boom in 2005-07 totalled S$21.8 billion ($14.5 billion), Singapore may be less than one-third of the way through the current wave, according to Colliers. Mingtiandi has added the Changi Garden sale to the property agency’s 2017 figures, which were finalised earlier this month.
“A surge in collective sales transactions typically spans eight to 12 quarters,” according to the report, which adds that a typical transaction has a gestation period of nine to 12 months from the formation of the collective sale committee to the completion of the deal.
“Going forward, we expect more prime freehold plots to come on the market as their values increase with the more aggressive land prices achieved in the mass markets,” commented Tang Wei Leng, managing director of Colliers International, Singapore in a statement.
High Markups Lure Homeowners
Launching a collective sale site requires agreement from either 80 or 90 percent of the unit owners, depending on the age of the property. Owners are enticed by the high premiums they can potentially achieve amid a rebound in Singapore’s residential market and a shortage of available land for development, following the government’s trimming of the land supply last year. The city’s private residential price index ticked up in the third quarter after 15 straight quarters of decline.
Changi Garden is only the latest en bloc property to sell at a significant premium to the initial guide price, with Rio Casa’s 28 percent markup being the most extreme example. Other properties that have been successfully sold this year include Eunosville (achieving 17 percent over the asking price), Serangoon Ville (16 percent), Sun Rosier (15 percent), and Amber Park (18 percent).
Collective Sale Boom Set To Continue
Another three projects have been launched for sale that could close in the next few months, with a total asking price of S$734.8 million. This figure does not include Cairnhill Mansions, a freehold condo project in the prime Orchard Road area, which is poised to hit the market soon.
The owners agreed less than two weeks ago to offer the development with an asking price of S$362 million ($264.1 million). According to sole marketing agent CBRE, more than 80 percent of the owners of the 61-unit property have signed the collective sale agreement, and the site will be launched for sale via public tender exercise in a few weeks’ time.
The Cairnhill Mansions news came in the same week that the Amber Park development on Singapore’s east coast sold for S$906.7 million ($667 million), marking the largest collective sale of an existing freehold housing project in the city’s history.