Singapore ‘en-bloc’ sales fall after property curbs

By BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE • Singapore residential-property investment sales have collapsed after the latest round of housing curbs put the brakes on “en-bloc” redevelopment deals.

Just two redevelopment sales worth S$353 million (RM1.06 billion) were completed in the third quarter, down from S$3.8 billion of transactions in the previous quarter, according to data compiled by Cushman & Wakefield Inc. That pushed total real estate investment sales down 42% to S$6.5 billion last quarter.

“The collective sales market was decimated after the recent cooling measures,” said Christine Li, head of research for Singapore at Cushman.

Private home prices rose at the slowest pace in five quarters after the additional curbs were imposed. The government took steps in July to cool the property market after a steep rise in prices in the first six months of this year.

The rebound in prices after a four-year slide had stoked aggressive land bids from developers, leading to an explosion of ‘en-bloc’ sales — where a group of owners band together to sell entire apartment buildings. Under the new rules, the government raised its additional buyer’s stamp duty to 30% for developers, making it more expensive for them to redevelop older properties.

Commercial and industrial property helped prop up investment sales. Office sales rose 54% to S$2.1 billion last quarter, and industrial property deals jumped 73% to S$1.2 billion.