In Singapore, the government is the main source of land supply and this is carried out by the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme. The GLS is carried out half-yearly and the government will release the size and location of future sites at the start and middle of the year.
The lists of sites are further segregated to the Confirmed List and the Reserve List. Sites under the Confirmed List are guaranteed to be rolled out for tender during that period but sites under the Reserved List are subject to interest from developers. This means that the site will be made available for tender if a developer indicates a minimum price in his application, or there is sufficient market interest in the site.
For the second half of 2014, the government has shrunk the supply of Residential GLS sites under the Confirmed List to only 6 sites with a total land area of 10.06 hectare. This compares to 10 sites equivalent to 19.21 hectare, and 8 sites equivalent to 14.92 hectare, in the same period of 2013 and 2012 respectively. Hence, we observe a drop of about 48 per cent (2H2013) and 33 per cent (2H2012).
In between 2H2012 to 2H2014, the government announced 5 major property cooling measures that reduce the borrower’s loan quantum, raise the buyer’s stamp duty and seller’s stamp duty. These, together with 5 earlier property cooling measures implemented from 2009 to 2012, greatly reduce the ability to purchase and own a residential property in Singapore.
However, property ownership in a land-scarce country like Singapore is always in demand. Based on the latest figures from the Department of Statistics, Singapore has a land area of 716.1 square kilometres but house a population of 5.3992 million, which translates to 7,540 people per square kilometre. Moreover, the island-nation is planning to accommodate up to 6.9 million people by 2030. As such, property ownership is considered a necessity as a home, and a safe haven for investors who wish to park their money.
The first site to be rolled out under the Confirmed List of Residential GLS site for Private Residential Development is located along Lorong Puntong, Upper Thomson. This is within District 20 which is between the Central and Northern part of Singapore. This part of Singapore comprises mostly private residential estates and there is an upcoming Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station under the Thomson – East Coast MRT Line which will be operational in stages from 2019.
The tender for the site will close on 8 October 2014 and we eagerly anticipate the winning tender price. This could provide a good indication of local and foreign developers’ interest in the property market in Singapore. Low participation by developers or a low winning tender price could put some pressure on the government to remove some of the cooling measures implemented earlier.
In any case, investing in a property is usually considered a long-term investment. Cyclical market fluctuation in the property market arises anywhere in the world. The most important thing is that you always end up on the right side of the coin.