Published September 14, 2012

Ghost Month auction values hit 3-year high

Forced sale of unit at Boulevard Residences accounts for 55% of total

By Mindy Tan

[SINGAPORE] The successful auction of four properties saw property auction sale values during the Hungry Ghost Month period rebound to hit a three-year high of $10.35 million this year.

This was largely attributed to the forced sale of a high-end condominium apartment at The Boulevard Residences (BLVD) at Cuscaden Walk, which was knocked down at $5.7 million, said Colliers International.

This represents 55 per cent of the total sales value achieved during the Hungry Ghost Month, which falls between Aug 17 and Sept 15 this year. It is also the first high-value residential property that has transacted above $5 million at auction since early 2011.

The other three properties sold included a single-storey terrace house at Thomson Road ($2.33 million), an apartment in Lake View Estate at Upper Thomson Road ($1.3 million), and an industrial flatted factory at Northlink Building at Admiralty Street ($1.02 million).

A total of 39 properties were put up for auction sale, of which three were mortgagee sales. The remaining 36 properties were put up by property owners.

"The property auction market is much quieter this year, largely due to the twin effects of the continuous government curbs on the residential market and the reduction in the number of mortgagee sales," noted Grace Ng, deputy managing director at Colliers International.

The continued higher proportion of owners' sale at 92.3 per cent this year could imply that both vendors and buyers are no longer concerned about the superstition associated with the Hungry Ghost Month, said Ms Ng. "In fact, we have observed that vendors nowadays have adopted a more practical view, in that they are avoiding putting up their properties for sale during the festive season or school holidays.

"This is because potential buyers could be away on vacation and the possibility of a transaction becomes lower in these periods," she added.

The property auction market in Singapore has knocked down 17 properties for a total sale value of $50.6 million to date this year. It is expected that 2012 could achieve more than $70 million in sales transactions, said Colliers.

That said, transaction volume is not expected to pick up significantly in the last quarter of the year, due to the festive season and school holidays, as well as the continued stalemate between buyers and sellers.

"While mortgage sales will continue to remain low, the market could potentially see high-end residential properties surfacing as mortgagee sale due to a more subdued level of sale activities in this sector. Meanwhile, shophouses and strata-titled shops/of- fices, as well as landed properties, will continue to be sought after," said Ms Ng.