Which districts have seen the strongest gains since Covid-19?

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It may sound like a bit of a strange title, given that most people wouldn’t expect to associate gains with the word Covid-19, but this is the current situation we find ourselves in.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll notice that Covid-19’s effect on Singapore real estate has been surprising.

In April 2020, for instance, analysts predicted a fall of between three to five per cent in the property price index; some predicted a correction of as much as eight per cent.

Analysts expect Singapore private home prices to fall up to 8% for the whole year.

Posted by The Business Times on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

So far, the market has refused to behave itself.

Private home prices for Q3 2020 went up again, by 0.8 per cent – this is about three times higher than the 0.3 per cent in Q2. Bizarrely, it was only in Q1 of this year – before the Circuit Breaker – when prices dipped by one per cent.

On a year-on-year basis, prices have been mostly flat; but they’re still slightly up by around 0.1 per cent compared to 2019.

In light of this, we thought it would be interesting to see – more specifically – which areas have been best at defying predictions to date.

This is how districts have seen private home prices move, between March to September (the peak of the Covid-19 infections, and the Circuit Breaker period):

Note: In the following, we have chosen to exclude the prices of new launches in the district. This is to avoid inflating the gains that occur when new launches have just emerged, such as in district 10 which saw multiple new launches of late (see below).

District Price PSF in March Transaction volume in March Price PSF in September Transaction volume in September: Percentage Gain per cent Annualised  Gainper cent
3 $1,535 14 $1,830 7 19.21824104 38.43648208
14 $1,090 28 $1,279 40 17.33944954 34.67889908
12 $1,341 24 $1,519 27 13.27367636 26.54735272
10 $1,727 48 $1,941 52 12.39143023 24.78286045
8 $1,336 7 $1,439 6 7.709580838 15.41916168
13 $1,389 7 $1,469 14 5.759539237 11.51907847
7 $1,694 5 $1,786 2 5.430932704 10.86186541
26 $1,019 7 $1,067 12 4.710500491 9.421000981
18 $945 55 $975 55 3.174603175 6.349206349
1 $2,218 32 $2,288 11 3.155996393 6.311992786
16 $1,081 26 $1,102 45 1.942645698 3.885291397
19 $1,029 86 $1,040 109 1.068999028 2.137998056
20 $1,240 21 $1,249 26 0.7258064516 1.451612903
27 $861 23 $854 31 -0.8130081301 -1.62601626
11 $1,614 28 $1,597 26 -1.053283767 -2.106567534
21 $1,293 28 $1,275 24 -1.392111369 -2.784222738
17 $863 24 $838 27 -2.896871379 -5.793742758
25 $780 13 $755 15 -3.205128205 -6.41025641
23 $963 54 $927 55 -3.738317757 -7.476635514
22 $1,058 16 $1,017 15 -3.875236295 -7.75047259
4 $1,497 11 $1,423 17 -4.943219773 -9.886439546
5 $1,225 24 $1,158 16 -5.469387755 -10.93877551
9 $2,049 29 $1,927 55 -5.954123963 -11.90824793
15 $1,367 64 $1,252 61 -8.412582297 -16.82516459
28 $1,184 16 $1,058 18 -10.64189189 -21.28378378
2 $2,242 8 $1,610 11 -28.18911686 -56.37823372

Top five districts during Covid-19 (as of September 2020)

  • District 3 (Tiong Bahru, Queenstown)
  • District 14 (Eunos, Geylang, Paya Lebar)
  • District 12 (Novena, Toa Payoh)
  • District 10 (Balmoral, Bukit Timah, Holland V)
  • District 8 (Little India, Serangoon Road)

Notable highlights:

1. The RCR may lead the pack for this entire quarter, not just till September

Note that none of the top performing districts during Covid-19 came from the Outside of Central Region (OCR).

Except for District 10, everything on the list above came from the Rest of Central Region (RCR). This is so far in-line with URA flash estimates or Q3 2020:

PHOTO: URA

Private non-landed homes in the RCR are estimated to have risen 3.3 per cent, while properties in the OCR have risen 1.7 per cent. Properties in the CCR have fallen by 4.9 per cent.

(Note: transaction prices for flash estimates are based on contracts submitted for stamp duty payment, and developer sales up till mid-September).

2. The Landmark may help District 3 to maintain its momentum

District 3 is a bit of a hot spot thanks to the Rail Corridor. This is a 24-kilometre stretch of nature walks, eateries, etc. built on the old rail system.

Queenstown, already a mature district, is set to benefit from this – new housing in Queenstown, for instance, is set to be integrated with the corridor.

We can see HDB upgraders, most of whom are families, seeing more interest in this area (and it may have already started).

As an aside, district 3 has done well even excluding new launches; but the launch of The Landmark is likely to keep the momentum going.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

This condo is a seven-minute walk to Chinatown MRT station, and about a 13-minute walk to Clarke Quay MRT station. We previously highlighted this as going for around $1,993 psf.

On paper this sounds quite attractive, but One Pearl Bank (launched last year) is likely to provide some competition: it’s three minutes from the Outram MRT station, and about nine minutes to Chinatown MRT station. The main issue is that One Pearl Bank is averaging $2,500 psf, which may put off buyers.

ALSO READ: Top 10 Singapore districts with the highest property appreciation

We’ll try to get a more in-depth view on these two and the unfolding sales, so do follow us on Facebook.

3. District 10 may continue to buck the downward trend in the CCR, just on the volume of new launches

There’s renewed vigour in Holland Village, which has been designated as a new identity node.

The URA Master Plan 2019 has more details on this; but to put it briefly, plans include weekend market and outdoor performances, and a new communal courtyard with retail and dining. The overall scheme seems to give Holland Village a New York East-Village-esque vibe.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

This could explain why, unlike its other counterparts in the CCR, District 10 has managed to stay on top. In the coming months, District 10 is also likely to climb higher on the list, if for no reason than the upcoming launches:

  • 15 Holland Hill
  • 19 Nassim
  • Dalvey Haus
  • Hyll on Holland
  • Leedon Green
  • Mooi Residences
  • Van Holland

*The large number of new launches is one reason why we excluded their prices, otherwise district 10 may top the list.

4. The pick-up in District 14 could be further sustained by the arrival of Penrose

It’s not a surprise to District 14 ignoring a downturn and picking up anyway; it has a history of doing this.

In past years, it’s seen even further advantage with the re-zoning of 14 hectares, which will no longer permit residential properties (thus limiting supply and pushing up prices).

ALSO READ: Unravelling the mystery behind these 3 highly unprofitable District 9 condos

While many may sneer at District 14 for including a Red Light area, this is one of the biggest rental hotspots – not just because of the large number of foreign workers who get housed here, but because of its easy access to the CBD.

In the coming months, this district looks likely to keep its position thanks to the coming of Penrose.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

We’ve covered Penrose in a more detailed review ; at the time we estimated prices here to be at $1,400 to $1,600 psf; this would make it competitive with Antares and Sims Urban Oasis nearby.

Penrose is also just seven minutes from the Aljunied MRT station. Coupled with its city fringe location, this is probably going to be the highlight of the District. Penrose was 60 per cent sold on its launch weekend at the end September, and District 14 is already second-highest without its inclusion.

5. The list of top gainers may need to be drastically shuffled though, when we see the results of Q4 2020

Take what you see with a grain of salt, for one important reason: this is the last quarter free of re-issued OTP restrictions .

If URA and some analysts prove correct, and what we see are inflated sales figures from new launches, then these may not be the top Districts after all.

 ALSO READ: Step into an $11.9 million 'good class condominium' with 360-degree views of district 10

The new sales shown for all the District 10 launches, for example, may well be lower than we think (and gains may not be as great after all).

On the other hand, if these results are broadly similar by end-2020, it may be a sign that re-issued OTPs didn’t inflate the figures by too much after all.

Please bear in mind that this is only a snapshot of the current situation

None of this is a decisive argument that the above districts are “recession resistant”, or have some fundamental way to evade Covid-19 effects. In fact, many of the likely reasons – as we’ve described above – are momentary ones.

We will need to wait till much later down the road, such as from the end of Covid-19 support measures, to get a clearer picture of which districts weathered the storm best.

For now however, home buyers may want to brace for prices in these areas being quite resilient, Covid-19 or not. 

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.