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    Feb 22, 2016

    More private homes resold at $1m or less

    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 in 2010 to the end of 2013 to 17 per cent in the period from 2014 to February 2016.

    And if you imagine these homes were all shoebox-sized, you would be wrong.

    Some larger units in good locations such as Bayshore have been selling for this amount.

    The tide has now turned, several years after the Total Debt Servicing Ratio came in mid-2013, according to Ong Kah Seng, R'ST Research director.

    "From 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," he said.

    "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."

    These value buys are typically found on the resale market, he added.

    Property owners who bought before prices spiked from about 2010 can still make a profit, even in the current weakened 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," said Mr Ong.

    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, some of these 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, according to data from Colliers International.

    Mortgagee sales should be on a stable uptrend this year and potentially exceed 270 in number, more than that recorded during the global financial crisis in 2008, said Grace Ng, deputy managing director of Colliers International.

    "The rising interest rate will add further strain to 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."