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2024 Will Be A Buyers Market

Posted by Jayson Ang on January 23, 2024
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The Real Estate Game Never Stays Still, And 2023 Was No Different. It Was A Roller-Coaster Year, Filled With More Ups And Downs Than A Theme Park Ride. So, As We Peek Around The Corner At 2024, Let’s Chat About The Potential Sweet Spots In The Market, And The Hurdles We Might Have To Jump Over?

Peering into the economic crystal ball of 2023, it was a bit of a roller coaster ride. There were plenty of curveballs thrown our way – political squabbles, a global growth rate that’s on the slow side, lukewarm demand from overseas, steep living costs, inflation, and sky-high interest rates.

We’re betting that most of these factors will stick around into 2024, at least for the initial half. But let’s not get too gloomy, because market confidence seems to hold its ground so far, and we’re pretty positive that the housing market won’t wobble much in 2024.

Casting our eyes towards 2024, it’s worth highlighting that the private housing market has had a solid performance. Private property prices have been on an upward climb for the past six years from 2017 to 2022, and it’s highly probable that we’ll see a seventh year of growth in 2023 (check out Table 1). According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s stats, private home prices have surged by nearly 4% in the first three-quarters of 2023.

Our guesstimate is that we’ll see a 4-5% price hike for the whole of 2023.

Will there be a price drop in 2024? In short, nope, and we’ll fill you in on the reasons soon.

Before that, let’s revisit the challenges, particularly the eye-watering high interest rates. We’ve noticed some relief as fixed home loan rates have eased up in the latter part of 2023 from the previous soaring highs of over 4%, but they’re still a far cry from the low rates we’ve been spoiled with for over a decade since the financial crisis.

We’re also keeping tabs on the geopolitical rumbles across the globe. The ripple effects of these political uncertainties could shake up the property market, mainly by causing fluctuations in future economic growth and financial market stability – which could then rock the boat of consumer confidence. For now, it seems like buyers aren’t rattled, and Singapore’s central bank is forecasting a brighter economy in the second half of 2024. Add to that a tight labour market and low unemployment, and you’ve got a recipe for a resilient housing market.

On the bright side, we’re pretty sure 2024 will be a good time for house hunters because home prices are topping out, some buyers are playing the waiting game, and developers, well aware of the hurdles, are likely

So, since December 2021, we’ve seen the government release a trio of initiatives, right? These actions have definitely shaken up the sales scene. Now, I’m curious about your perspective – how do you reckon these developers are dealing with this new landscape? And what’s their game plan for 2024 looking like to you?

No doubt, the hustle and bustle of new private home sales have taken a bit of a chill pill since their stellar performance back in July 2023, when over 1,400 brand-new homes (excluding those fancy executive condos) found new owners. The slowdown in sales can be chalked up to two main factors: fewer launches as we inch closer to year-end, and a more guarded market sentiment.

Plus, some potential buyers might just be playing the waiting game, hoping for fresh launches in 2024 that could broaden their choices. Let’s face it, if you’re on the hunt for smaller pads like 2-bedroom units, your options are pretty slim right now. These bite-sized homes often fly off the shelves during project launches.

Looking at the developers’ side of things, they’ve started playing it safe too. Given the rising home prices and price-conscious buyers, we’re betting on developers walking on eggshells with their pricing strategies in 2024.

They usually aim to cross a certain sales milestone early into the launch. The reason? Well, reaching this goal can influence the cash flow from banks that’s needed to fund the project development. Not to mention, early sales help offset certain costs.

Moreover, selling more than 30% of the units during the opening weekend can really kickstart the sales engine, creating a buzz and luring more buyers in. Here’s another fun fact: developers need to sell every single unit in a project to score an additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) remission.

So here’s the takeaway: upcoming home buyers might just hit the jackpot with realistic and market-sensitive initial prices when projects take off. Developers could start nudging prices north once they achieve a 50% take-up rate or if interest rates further drop and housing demand spikes. For 2024 overall, we’re placing our bets on home prices going uphill – we’re talking a potential hike of 3% to 4% for private homes, and possibly a 4% to 5% increase for HDB resale prices.

Considering the potential pitfalls and unknowns we’ve talked about, what kind of guidance would you offer to folks thinking about buying a house in 2024?

In the unpredictable world of property development, builders are likely to tread lightly when it comes to setting their prices. They’re looking to get a solid response from buyers when new projects hit the market. Given this backdrop, we’re thinking that buyers might have the upper hand in 2024.

But here’s the thing, not everyone is raring to jump into the mix. Some folks are holding back, waiting for the crowd before they make their move. Sales aren’t going through the roof just yet. It reminds me of something the investment guru Warren Buffet once said: “When folks are grabbing everything in sight, that’s when you should be cautious. But when they’re too scared to move, that’s your cue to dive in.”

What’s important for buyers is to really know what they want and what they can afford. Teaming up with a seasoned real estate agent can help them weigh the good against the bad and get the lay of the land in their preferred locations.

If they spot a property that’s right up their alley, suits their needs, and they’ve done their homework – thanks to their trusty agent – then they shouldn’t hesitate to make a move even if others aren’t. Similarly, they’ll be in a good position to decide to sell while everyone else is buying.

It’s easy to get caught up in dramatic headlines and let fear take the driver’s seat. But if buyers start talking to a real estate agent early on, discussing their needs, finances, priorities, and life dreams, they can plan their path. By doing their homework ahead of time, buyers are more likely to seize golden opportunities when they pop up, instead of getting stuck in thought mode when a sweet deal comes along. By the time they’ve made up their minds, the property they had their eyes on could be off the market.

If you’re an HDB flat owner, you might be wondering if 2024 is your golden opportunity to level up to a private residence or an EC. It does seem like the market’s swinging in favor of buyers right now, doesn’t it?

Now, let’s remember that HDB resale prices have bounced back impressively, shooting up nearly 36% from Q1 2020 to Q3 2023. But don’t lose sight of the fact that these same prices took a nosedive for six whole years from 2013 to 2018. That was after a bunch of regulations were put in place to cool things down, and HDB went all out increasing BTO supply with over 100,000 new flats from 2011 to 2014.

Does that sound familiar? Well, it should, because the government’s been at it again. They’ve stirred the pot with three cooling measures since December 2021 and have been upping the housing supply to keep home prices in check and meet demand. Thanks to these steps, HDB resale prices have begun to chill out a bit. We’re predicting they’ll only rise by around 5% to 6% this year, which is a snail’s pace compared to the 10.4% hike in 2022 and a whopping 12.7% jump in 2021. As HDB keeps pumping out more BTO flats and with the cooling measures still in effect, we reckon HDB resale prices will continue to climb, but at a gentler pace, probably just keeping up with inflation.

So, let’s imagine we’re in the year 2024 and it’s a buyers’ market. What’s the best game plan for those trying to sell in the resale market?

Got a property you’re thinking about selling? The reasons behind your decision could vary widely. Maybe you’re hunting for a bigger place or looking to downsize to a more manageable spot. Perhaps you’re eyeing the cash pile from a profitable sale, or maybe you’re dealing with a pinch in the pocket and need to let go of the property.

If it’s about upgrading or getting just-the-right-size, you might want to set your sights on 2024. We’re expecting property prices to chill out by then, with a bunch of new projects likely to hit the market too. Some folks might be tempted to hold off selling their house, hoping the price will hike up. Remember though, this plan can backfire. Say your $1-million crib gets a 20% boost – that’s a cool $200,000 extra. But if the property you’ve got your eye on also leaps by 20%, a $2.5-million house would rocket up to $3 million – that’s half a mil more!

Now, if you’re selling because you view your property as an investment, think about the long game. Heads up – you’d have to cough up ABSD if you buy another investment property. Instead, how about renting out your spot and raking in steady rent money? Especially if you bought the place when prices were lower, the rental yield could be a real winner.

For those in a tight spot and needing to sell ASAP, remember not to shoot for the moon with the asking price. A quicker deal at a fair price beats waiting forever for a buyer who’ll meet an inflated price. It’s never great when the clock is ticking down, and you’re struggling to unload your property.

Ever wondered why the cost of private homes might remain steady in 2024 even with tough circumstances looming? And how’s the executive condo market going to fare?

Looking ahead to 2024, we’re predicting a gradual climb in home prices. Private homes might see a 3% to 4% increase, while HDB resale prices could potentially hike up by 4% to 5%. This is largely due to a couple of key factors. Firstly, the land cost is set in stone and secondly, developers are backed into a corner with little wiggle room to slash prices, thanks to sky-high costs of building, financing and labor.

Come 2024, we’ll also see the goods and services tax (GST) jump to 9%, which means developers will be digging deeper into their pockets when it comes to buying goods and services. As for the HDB resale market, don’t hold your breath for a price drop. HDB flat owners always have the cost of a new home hanging over their heads when they decide to sell.

Now, let’s talk about ECs. They’re pretty popular among first-time buyers and those looking to upgrade from an HDB. Why? Well, EC prices are a good deal lower than new private condos in the mass market. In Q3 of 2023, a new EC was 42% cheaper than a non-landed new private home in the OCR. New EC prices have been creeping up, though; case in point: Altura sold 316 units at an average price of $1,474 psf. Given that EC land prices have been on the rise, we expect new EC prices to hold steady, if not increase further. Just look at Sim Lian Group – they recently shelled out a record-breaking $721 psf per plot ratio for a Tampines St. 62 (Parcel B) EC plot.

Should You Buy, Sell or Wait?

If you’re reading this, you must be trying to figure out the best course of action right now: is it the right time to buy or sell?

It’s difficult to give an exact answer since everyone’s situation is unique and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

I can bring you a wealth of on-the-ground experience and a data-driven approach to provide clarity and direction. From beginners to experienced investors, our top-down, objective approach will help you on your real estate journey.

I can help you by:

  1. Offering Strategic Real Estate Advice – I can help create a comprehensive plan to guide you through your property journey.
  2. Connecting Your Home with the Perfect Buyers – Through stunning visuals, an effective communication strategy, and an in-depth knowledge of the market, we’ll ensure your home is presented in the best possible way to fulfill your goals.

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