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Finding value


LAST July's cooling measures meant to tame the private residential market seems to have had its desired effect, turning the land acquisition frenzy here into a trickle and moderating the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) private property price index.

Home buyers and investors appear to be re-assessing the real estate sector, keeping in mind the higher stamp duties, tightened loan-to-value ratios and the more cautious macroeconomic outlook ahead.

Still, it's worth keeping in mind that property, along with equities and bonds, have always been a key component of the Singapore investor's portfolio. Analysts generally agree that even in this subdued state, there is pent-up private housing demand that has accumulated over the past few years.

The Singapore market has always been deemed a safe haven compared to other countries, lending security to real estate investments here for both local and overseas investors alike. So while the market may appear quieter, the consensus is that the underlying demand remains strong. Investors will do well to take advantage of the lull to hunt for value buys and adopt a longer term view of the market.

For many condo owners, hitting the en bloc jackpot meant new choices: Upgrade or downgrade? Buy now or hold out first? In this edition of The Business Times Property Supplement, we explore the paths that different profiles of en bloc beneficiaries have taken in today's market. Some experts estimate 50 to 60 new private residential projects could be launched in 2019.

Amid this buffet of choices, we see how developers are positioning their products to capture the eye and the wallets of prospective buyers.

The URA's upcoming Master Plan will also provide a glimpse of how Singapore will be transformed in the next 10 to 15 years.

Househunters will do well to consider the long-term potential of regional hubs as decentralisation continues its decadeslong journey.

What delivers the most capital appreciation: freehold or leasehold? How are property values affected by the presence of popular schools nearby? We explore these age-old rules of thumb for finding "star buys" in the market as well. You can also learn how to participate in the auction market. When house-hunting, delve into all the ways you can now use technology to compare prices, research your agent's track record, and see your new home in virtual reality, way before it's even built.

As the executive condominium market continues to see a dearth in supply, developers' appetite for such sites have not waned, leading to recent land tender bids at historically high levels.

Still, these can be considered good value for money considering the potential upside in time for this public-private housing class.

Having languished for several years, the HDB resale market may see some renewed optimism, after demand hit a six-year high in 2018. Perhaps, 2019 will bring renewed interest in several hotspots, buoyed by new transport nodes and policies likely to help demand for ageing HDB flats.

Meanwhile, find out how retailers and landlords attempt to reel in customers, be it through providing personalised services or building selfie-worthy attractions and amenities.

One bright spot in the investment sales landscape is the hospitality sector. We explore the factors, beyond the Crazy Rich Asians effect, that contribute to a more optimistic outlook for hotel investment and development this year.

There is much to read in our supplement.

Whether you're looking for investment ideas or just trying to understand where the market is headed, we hope you will find this special report useful. Better yet if it helps you make up your mind on the next steps in your investment journey.

Supplement editor: Yunita Ong Sub editor: Andrew Tan Graphics: Teoh Yi-Chie, Noordin Ayob, Hyrie Rahmat Cover design: Simon Ang Advertising sales: Stella Yeo 9799 9001

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