Mortgagee sale listings exceed total put up for sale last year

Fifty-four homes were put up for mortgagee sale in the first nine months of this year, exceeding the 47 for the whole of last year, according to a DTZ report.

In January to September last year, only 33 homes were put up for mortgagee sale. The jump in mortgagee sales was not so much interest-rate- related, but due to other factors, such as job losses, said Dr Lee Nai Jia, DTZ regional head of research.

"Some home owners have to default because they lost their jobs due to the consolidation and restructuring of the financial and commodity sectors, while others lost their wealth through the volatile equity and commodity markets."

Foreign labour restrictions also compound the problem for owners who rely on rental income to finance their monthly mortgages, he added. In such a climate, some highly coveted and rarely transacted properties have come up for mortgagee sale. For example, one DTZ auction next Wednesday features a 1,755 sq ft apartment on the 63rd floor of The Sail@Marina, which comes with three bedrooms, a family room and a study. The unit has a full view of Marina Bay.

"(Such an apartment) is rarely transacted in the secondary market, given its larger floor area and high storey," said Dr Lee.

A similar unit on the 66th floor of a different stack was sold for $5.88 million in August last year.

The indicative valuation for the latest unit is $3.9 million. It is being sold with vacant possession.

Another rare property at the same auction event is a renovated conserved apartment in Moh Guan Terrace, in Tiong Bahru, which is also up for sale by mortgagee. The 790 sq ft, one-bedroom walk-up apartment on the fifth floor is being sold with vacant possession. The indicative pricing for the unit is about $870,000.

Hardly any listings are on offer for privatised conserved apartments in the Tiong Bahru area, which tend to have attractive rents of $2,900 to $4,350 a month for a unit of 750 to 860 sq ft, said Dr Lee.

"Both types of properties are rarely put up for mortgagee sales given their prime location and strong rental potential. In the past five years, only two properties in Marina Boulevard were put up for mortgagee sale, while there were none in Yong Siak Street and the Moh Guan Terrace area," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline Mortgagee sale listings exceed total put up for sale last year. Subscribe