Auction sales for properties surge in fourth quarter

Property consultancy JLL notes that the uptick seen in Q4 was boosted by the sale of several high-end properties, including three vacant plots of prime land within the Swiss Club estate and a four-room duplex penthouse unit at the Seascape (right) in
Property consultancy JLL notes that the uptick seen in Q4 was boosted by the sale of several high-end properties, including three vacant plots of prime land within the Swiss Club estate and a four-room duplex penthouse unit at the Seascape (right) in Sentosa.PHOTO: HO BEE GROUP

Deals make up 51 per cent of this year's sales; $47.2m raised is double that of Q3 sales figure

Auction sales for properties in the final months of this year have bucked the usual trend of a year-end slowdown.

Consultancy JLL said yesterday: "Sales in the fourth quarter have exceeded expectations for the property auction segment, clocking a total sales figure of $47.2 million for the quarter (so far)."

This makes up 51 per cent of sales this year so far, and more than treble the value of sales - of $10.83 million - in the last three months of last year.

The $47.2 million sales figure was also more than double that of the complete third quarter this year.

JLL noted that the period got a boost from the sale of three vacant plots of prime land within the Swiss Club estate - in the Bukit Tinggi-Jalan Kampong Chantek vicinity - and a landed property at 4, Jalan Bahasa, which sold for $12.3 million via liquidator's sale.

Several other residential properties of large quantums were also sold through auctions.

These included a four-room duplex penthouse unit at the Seascape in Sentosa auctioned for $6.35 million, and a three-bedroom unit at Orchard Scotts for $2.35 million.

JLL noted that the sale of the Swiss Club land plots and Jalan Bahasa property, for instance, "suggests that there are keen buyers in the market on the lookout for sites" with potential to be redeveloped.

It added that in the quarter so far, there has been a good mix of the type of properties sold and type of sellers.

Also, 10 out of the 11 properties that went under the hammer were presented to buyers for the first time and sold within two to four weeks of being put up for sale.

JLL said: "(It) may suggest that there are ready buyers willing to commit to good deals in today's market despite having to put down a 10 per cent deposit on the spot."

As these buyers were prepared, they also "managed to snag deals below what the previous owners had paid". For instance, the Orchard Scotts unit was bought at $4.18 million - or $2,540 per sq ft (psf) - in January 2012, and sold last month at a 44 per cent loss at $1,427 psf, after getting five bids.

"With just two weeks left to the end of the year, auction sales have seen a total value of $92.2 million hammered this year to date," said JLL, which noted it is still about 10 per cent away from last year's total sales of $102.3 million.

Ms Mok Sze Sze, head of auctions at JLL Singapore, said: "Since 2013, when the Total Debt Servicing Ratio was introduced, we have seen a year-on-year increase in the number of properties sold during auction. This suggests that buyers have, over time, come to terms with the cooling measures and are more willing to commit."

She expects mortgagee sales to increase by 10 to 20 per cent next year, "considering that Singapore is going through a protracted cyclical downturn, and the economy is expected to stay sluggish next year".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2016, with the headline 'Auction sales for properties surge in fourth quarter'. Print Edition | Subscribe