Personal Finance

Latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed sales of new private residential units plunged almost 50 percent in February 2015 compared to a year ago. 

Going by the recent bearish sentiments on the Singapore property market – fewer new project launches, declining HDB resale prices and slipping home sales numbers – it does look like tides are turning towards a buyer's market. 

A buyers' market describes a situation in which supply exceeds demand, giving purchasers an advantage over sellers in price negotiations.

“So, is it the right time to jump in?”

If you are smart enough, you might have been waiting patiently, saving up your money to try to time your entry where prices are falling.

Any savvy investor will know that markets trade in cycles. The cycle can generally be categorised into four key phases- (1)Recovery, (2)Boom, (3)Slump and (4)Stabilisation.


Looking at this chart, you will see that the current Singapore property market cycle is in the falling phase. Prices are just starting to come off, with rental rates falling but sellers can still be choosy about buyers, especially in prime central areas. 

While investing in property used to be a sure-win ticket to retire comfortably or an assurance of a tidy sum when you sell it, the situation might not be the same anymore. In March 2015, it was reported that a luxurious Sentosa Cove unit was sold at a loss of $1.2 million. 

For those who are looking to catch on the slump in property prices for good deals, one tip is to look out for mortgagee sales. 

The number of properties placed on the auction block by mortgagees increased five times to 159 in 2014 from 32 in the previous year, according to property consultancy Colliers International.

Of the forced sales listings, 78 percent were residential units, while the rest were either industrial or commercial real estate.

Discounts are common for these mortgage sales, especially those who have been put up for auctions more than once. As well, sellers during these auctions often have a serious intention to sell.

If you are looking to jump into the market now, you could probably wait 6 months to a year in order to catch better deals. For those who are looking to sell their property within the next two years, now should be the right time, provided that you didn't buy it during the peak period.

Remember property markets go in cycles, so watch out for bargains in times of a slumping cycle!