More homes go on the block amid market turmoil

More landed properties and large apartments were listed for auction last year. PHOTO: ST FILE

More choice homes are expected to go under the hammer as the equity market sell-off takes a toll on mortgage holders, said property research house DTZ yesterday.

Listings for mortgagee sales - when a bank puts a property up for auction after its owner defaults on servicing the home loan - almost doubled to 87 units last year from 47 in 2014.

Only nine properties were subject to mortgagee sales in 2012, when the property market was growing, DTZ said in a report.

More owners are also putting their properties up for auction. DTZ said listings for owners' sales rose to 135 properties last year from 77 in 2014.

There were also more landed properties and large apartments listed for auction last year.

DTZ noted that 53 landed homes were listed last year, up from 39 in the previous year, while listings for apartments with strata area of more than 2,000 sq ft rose to 40 units from 17.

"Sudden shocks in the equity markets tend to be a precursor for more auction listings, as owners need to adjust their financial positions," said Dr Lee Nai Jia, DTZ's head of South-east Asia research.

He added that this will offer prospective home buyers a window of opportunity to acquire homes at reasonable prices.

The research house said most mortgagee sales are hard-luck cases, where the owners cannot afford mortgage payments owing to job loss.

Some owners who rely on rental income to finance their mortgages may run into difficulties, given the quiet rental market, DTZ added.

It said many owners are also using auctions to dispose of their homes as it is more transparent, especially for properties that were jointly owned by multiple owners.

DTZ said its upcoming auction next Thursday offers several "attractive" properties, including a cluster bungalow in Hua Guan Avenue, off Dunearn Road.

The 999-year property near King Albert Park MRT station has a gross floor area of about 4,219 sq ft and comes with a private pool and basement. It was transacted at $4.5 million in 2010.

DTZ also cited two split penthouses of a five-storey apartment development known as Veranda, off East Coast Road, as "interesting".

Both units come with a garden and are suitable for extended families that want to live near each other, it added. The indicative valuation for each unit ranged from $1.3 million to $1.6 million.

There are also two maisonettes and one apartment on the auction list that were formerly HUDC units. They have a floor area of slightly more than 1,600 sq ft and are likely to go below $1 million, DTZ said.

Wong Siew Ying

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2016, with the headline More homes go on the block amid market turmoil. Subscribe