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Upward pressure on prices?

WITH three collective property sales sealed in a week, analysts at DBS Vickers Securities believe the signs are there for an upswing in Singapore real estate prices.

Analysts Rachel Tan and Derek Tan have an overweight stance for developers. They see City Developments (CDL) and UOL as key beneficiaries to any price increase given their existing unsold stock and potentially better margins for recently land-banked projects. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life EC , Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences ECfloor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

At 10:38am, CDL was trading around S$10.94 a share, up 5 Singapore cents. UOL was at S$7.05 a share, up 1 Singapore cent.

"Looking at the way these en blocs and land bids are transacted, we believe that developers seem to be pricing in a price recovery in 2018 in their bids, implying the bullish sentiment towards land-banking good quality sites in Singapore. This could imply upward pressure on prices in the medium term,'' the two analysts wrote in a report entitled "Hidden pot of gold for privatised HUDC homeowners".

On Thursday, Hongkong Land's unit MCL Land clinched Eunosville - a former HUDC estate site - through a collective sale at S$765.78 million. It was the third collective sale in a week, following last Thursday's S$101.5 million sale of Goh & Goh Building and the S$575 million sale of Rio Casa, a privatised HUDC estate in Hougang. This brings the total en bloc sales to four, or slightly over S$1.5 billion, since the beginning of 2017.

The analysts also noted that the transacted prices of Eunosville and Rio Casa were higher than what owners were reportedly asking for.

JLL's regional director for capital markets in Singapore, Tan Hong Boon, had earlier estimated 25 to 30 projects that have elected sales committees looking at collective sales. For the whole of last year, there were only three collectives sales.

The DBS analysts said any signs of over-zealousness from developers looking to land-bank in Singapore could see the authorities raising the number of available land sites or raising the number of confirmed sites in the pipeline.

"This will, in our view, signal the government readiness to tackle any unintended "bubble" that could form in Singapore land prices if such aggressive bids continue on. We believe to see such signals as early as in the 2H17 Government land sales (GLS) program."

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