Singapore: Luxury condo sales hold up in Q3 even as top-end GCB market softens

DEMAND for luxury condominiums in Singapore continues to hold up, even as sales of top-end Good Class Bungalows (GCB) soften, said Huttons Asia in its latest report on the luxury market released on Tuesday (Oct 18). 

According to the report, 110 non-landed new homes with a price tag of S$5 million and above were sold in Q3 2022, similar to the previous quarter. The total quantum that buyers forked out for these homes was S$1 billion this quarter, up 15.5 per cent from Q2. 

More larger units were also being sold at a higher quantum this quarter. This is because larger units are hard to come by and buyers are willing to pay a premium for them, said Huttons’ research team. 

At the top end of the non-landed luxury property market is a 11,227 sq ft penthouse at Les Maisons Nassim in District 10, which sold for S$68 million or S$6,057 psf. 

Another two units were sold at the ultra-luxury freehold condominium this quarter – a 8,687 sq ft unit for S$46 million or S$5,296 psf, and a 6,286 sq ft unit for S$36 million or S$5,727 psf. 

With this, 10 out of 14 units at Les Maisons Nassim have been sold at an average of S$5,625 psf. 

Additionally, Huttons noted that the three bestselling luxury projects in Q3 were Cape Royale at Sentosa Cove, The Avenir at River Valley, and Nouvel 18 at Anderson Road. 

Chinese nationals, Americans and Malaysians were the top three foreign buyers of luxury properties this quarter, added the real estate consultancy. 

Likewise, a recent report by OrangeTee & Tie showed that about 20 per cent of luxury condominiums priced at S$5 million and above were bought by Mainland Chinese nationals between January and August 2022. 

Luxury condominium purchases by foreigners and Singapore permanent residents (PRs) have also almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, it added. 

Based on data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Realis, non-PR foreigners purchased 143 luxury condominiums priced at S$5 million and above from January to August 2022. This is more than triple the transactions inked from January to August 2020, at 51 units, and slightly above the 136 units purchased for the same period in 2019. 

Sales of luxury condominiums bought by foreigners also soared to 23.6 per cent between January and August 2022, from 10.9 per cent for the same period in 2020.

“With a strengthening Singapore dollar amid the growing economic uncertainties, properties here will continue to be regarded as safe-haven assets,” said OrangeTee & Tie in the report. 

“Even with the new cooling measures implemented last month, the impact of the measures is not likely to be significant as high-net-worth individuals have sufficient cash or capital. Some may redeploy funds from other investments to pay their home loans.”

Meanwhile, just 12 deals took place in the GCB areas in Q3 2022. This makes a total of 40 transactions in GCB areas year to date, down more than half from the same period in the previous year.

The total value of GCBs sold this quarter was S$379.8 million, a 30.5 per cent increase from Q2 but a 47.6 per cent decrease from 2021. The total transacted sum of GCBs year to date also stood at S$1.1 billion, down 62.1 per cent from the same period last year. 

The top deal by quantum among GCBs in Q3 was achieved at 80 Belmont Road, by the chief executive officer of Auric Pacific Group Andy Adhiwana at S$55.5 million. This is a record price for the Belmont Park GCB area. 

Another GCB was sold at 32 White House Park to chief executive officer of CBC Group Fu Wei at S$45.5 million, the highest recorded transaction for the White House Park GCB area. The co-founder of Haidilao was said to be buying a GCB in the Cluny Hill area for S$50 million, according to Huttons. 

Data from URA also showed that GCB rentals peaked this quarter with a GCB at Dalvey Estate for S$85,000 in July.

Going forward, analysts at Huttons believe that the GCB market will remain strong in Q4 despite the lower transactions in Q3. 

“The global uncertainties have led to lesser listing and price mismatch, which translated to lower transactions in Q3 2022,” they explained. “The tech sell-off and crypto meltdown has also affected interest.”

Genuine buyers, however, are keen to buy GCBs despite the high prices, said Huttons. They also predict that sale of GCBs this year may be in the “normalised range” of 45 to 55, down from the 97 deals transacted in 2021.