Singapore's total population rose to 5.64 million in the 12-month period ending in June this year, with an increase of about 30,000 that is driven mainly by births among Singaporeans and the addition of new citizens. This 0.5 per cent growth is an improvement on the previous period's 0.1 per cent, which is the slowest in more than a decade. Of the 5.64 million, the number of Singapore citizens went up by 1 per cent to 3.47 million, according to the annual Population in Brief report released. The rest comprises permanent residents (PRs) and non-residents, who include people who are here to work, their dependants and international students. The number of PRs remains relatively stable at 0.52 million, while non-residents make up 1.64 million. The number of marriages involving citizens, however, rose 2.3 per cent to 24,417, an annual increase that is above the past decade's average of 22,500 citizen marriages. The median age of the citizen population also inched up from 41.3 to 41.7 years.
It is in the collective consciousness of Singaporeans that owning property is a big part of being - and getting - rich. For many families in Singapore, investing in property has proven to be a good way to preserve, if not enhance, their wealth and to build up a retirement nest egg. The Urban Redevelopment Authority's benchmark overall private home price index in the second quarter of this year stood at 149 points, or 16.7 times the index reading of 8.9 points back in Q1 1975. The staggering rise in value has made this investment asset class compelling to Singaporeans. And then, of course, there is also the so-called Asian trait of wanting to acquire property to leave for the next generation.
Space was luxury then, small is trend now
The times they are a changing - even for high-end home buyers. And luxe developer SC Global is rolling with it. The Simon Cheong vehicle, known for building "Mansions in the Sky" at The Marq, is now going small with its new collection, aptly named Petit Collectibles.
The approximately 55-unit Petit Jervois in River Valley, the first project under this new brand, will be mostly one and two-bedders spanning 800 sq ft to 1,000 sq ft, and will launch by the end of the year. The Business Times understands it is expected to be launched at around S$2,800 to S$3,000 psf range. The freehold Petit Jervois will also be its first Singapore project in three years. SC Global scooped up the former Jervois Gardens condo in September 2017 in a S$72 million collective sale.
However some felt Singapore property measures may have tempered buying of small units; units below 500 sq ft, accounted for 63 units or 11 per cent of new home sales in August, below the monthly average of 100 units registered from January 2017. In addition, recently launched projects which results showed low take-up for units under 500 sq ft with The Tre Ver in Potong Pasir, having as little as 6 per cent of the total number of caveats lodged.
Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group said it has granted options for the purchase of 300 units at the JadeScape condo within 24 hours of its sale opening. The average transacted price net of discounts is S$1,700 psf, it added. Interest was balanced across all unit types. The price for a three-bedroom apartment of 1,012 sq ft averages S$1.65-1.7 million. Under the first phase of sales, Qingjian released 480 of the development's 1,206 residential units. Qingjian said details on the next phase of sales will be announced later.
Core inflation unchanged at 1.9% in August
Singapore's monthly core inflation remained unchanged at 1.9 per cent last month although the market expected it to rise. Still, the figure is a four-year high. Last month, higher retail and food inflation offset the slower rise in services inflation, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). The past two months marked the fastest rate of increase since August 2014 when core inflation, which excludes accommodation and private road transport costs, rose 2 per cent. Headline inflation picked up in line with expectations, inching up to 0.7 per cent from 0.6 per cent. MAS and MTI expect core inflation to average in the upper half of the 1 per cent to 2 per cent forecast range for the full year.
Singapore office rents grow for sixth straight quarter in Q3 2018
Singapore office rents have increased for the sixth straight quarter in the third quarter of 2018, coming closer to beating the last high seen at the start of 2015, amid near-term tightening in CBD (central business district) space and strong demand from occupiers.
Gross effective rents of Grade A office space in the CBD edged up 2.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2018 to average S$9.93 psf per month. That is an 18 per cent increase over the six quarters, putting rents just 6 per cent below the Q1 2015 peak of S$10.56 psf per month. Rent growth in the quarter was broad-based across all sub-markets. But the pace of CBD Grade A rent growth has also been decelerating for three consecutive quarters, from a recent high of 4.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter in Q4 2017, to 2.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2018. Next year could also see a peak in the squeeze for space as the withdrawal of Chevron House for refurbishment will shrink the leasing stock at a time when the market is void of new completions, although the completion of the redevelopment of Park Mall and Funan located outside the CBD in 2019 could relieve some upward pressure on Grade A CBD rents. More supply will come from 2020 onwards.
ASB Tower and Afro-Asia I-Mark are due to be completed in 2020, and this will be followed by the scheduled completion of CapitaSpring and the redevelopment of Hub Synergy Point in 2021. In 2022, IOI Properties' development in Marina Bay and GuocoLand's development on Beach Road should be completed. Over the next four years (2019-2022), the CBD will see an average annual new supply of 0.8 million sq ft, slightly under the 10-year historical average net take-up of 0.9 million sq ft.