Auction market heats up with 31% more properties sold in Q1, including abandoned Upper Thomson house

Auctioned in February was this Upper Thomson home at 17, Jalan Batai, where the skeletal remains of two sisters were found.
Auctioned in February was this Upper Thomson home at 17, Jalan Batai, where the skeletal remains of two sisters were found.ST PHOTO: ALVIN HO

SINGAPORE - The number of properties sold in auctions rose to 11 units in the first quarter of 2018, from eight in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

This was despite the number of new properties put up for sale staying unchanged year on year at 63 units in both periods.

The total value of properties sold via auction in Q1 2018 was S$19.97 million, 31.2 per cent higher from S$15.23 million a year ago, and S$9.62 million two years ago, reflecting the positive sentiments and strong demand in the market, Edmund Tie & Company (ET&Co) said on Thursday (March 29).

The figures do not include private treaty sales and units transacted before or after the auction.

ET&Co head of auction and sales Joy Tan said that the good response may be due to pent-up demand from buyers, who have been waiting on the sidelines for news on changes to the stamp duty.

The Government surprised the market this quarter by announcing the increase in the buyer's stamp duty (BSD) last month. Yet, instead of being deterred, both local and foreign buyers seem to be returning to the auction market.

Ms Tan said: "We expect a steady increase in sales throughout this year, especially as owners who are cashing out on their successful en bloc sales begin to search for replacement units for occupation or investment."


In line with previous trends, lender sales were still the most popular among bidders, with eight units sold, totalling S$13.42 million.

Owner's sales and a public trustee's sale at 17, Jalan Batai in Upper Thomson - where the skeletal remains of two sisters were found - contributed S$4.32 million and S$2.23 million, respectively.

Eight non-landed residential units and one landed unit totalling S$15.56 million were sold. Transactions were distributed evenly between core and non-core regions, whereas in the past, it was more common for the non-core regions to achieve a higher number of sales due to their affordability.

Only two commercial units with a sales value of S$4.41 million were sold during this period.

Ms Tan said: "In the last six months, we noticed that older developments completed before the year 2000 are attracting more interest, with some investors looking to ride the en bloc wave. During the marketing period of the units, we often receive queries about the en bloc potential of the development."

Illustrating this, six out of the 11 units sold this quarter were completed before the year 2000.