Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Property Bubble & Investment Trap Part XIII - Quick Review By Property Class, 2010 Closing

I had taken a short "detour" in my original posting plan to write the piece  on "Concepts About Aging - Nanjing YY Li vs Singapore MM Lee" for the Singapore General Election Portal (SGEP) first before this quick review to close for 2010.

The reasons are two :- (a) the issue of Aging is an important one in the next General Election, (b) I received some emails asking for specific directions in the current property market. While I have obliged with some general advice, I also wanted to illustrate clearly how "life" for many Singaporeans can be as "cool" as this old "octogenarian" Li Jun in this real life story, if you could adopt the right "cool" approach to property investment in a "hot" Singapore property market; say if you do not mind to continue working to a ripe old age like MM Lee.

SM Goh announced that the Government is carrying out a 5-year study in Marine Parade to assess the implications and needs of an ageing community. Why is the Govt so anxious about issue of Aging and retirement age? It has got to do with Healthcare and CPF (i.e. Money left in CPF after mortgages are fully redeemed and the peak CPF withdrawal period, following the demographic pattern of the "baby boomers"). As I had explained in my earlier posting the "baby-boomers" of the early 1960s are often made the "scapegoats" of policies. And these baby-boomers will soon reached age 55 by the end of the next term of Parliament and the following General Election in 2015/2016. So SM Goh announced to "mock them up" in Marine Parade.

Under the old retirement age model of 55 years old, if the baby boomers still cannot pay off their mortgages by 2015, then they will be in "hot trouble" if threaten by unemployment. Personally, I do not feel safe leveraging and stretching a mortgage of 20~30 years beyond age 55. It should be a last resort, and not a DS solution. Better discharge yourself before age 50. Many Singaporeans still dare, or are forced to do so under the old "enslaving" model but will need to re-focus. Obviously, the PAP Govt found it necessary to delay the retirement age till 65 in 2012 and eventually 67. It buys the PAP Govt 10 more years to react by the coming Election and at least another 2 more years in the following one, in one Chinese zodiac cycle. You may also recall that the baby boomers (Post 60s) were also badly hit by the PAP's policy of lowering CPF contribution rate and income ceiling cap following the SARs crisis and previous recession, notwithstanding current income stagnation, ever rising cost of living, current high inflation  and imminent cut of CPF when baby boomers hit age 50.

The shrinking CPF fund is aggravated further by shrinking population growth for the Post 70s and 80s who will reach 45 y o and 35 y o respectively by 2015/2016. And the Post 70s at 45 age will enter what the once "NTUC Labour Chief" then considered as the "pre-emptive" layoff period because they will become "old and redundant".

You may recall my prediction of a possible "bust" in 2012~2013 (following a likely China Bubble Burst) and a "boom" in 2015 for our property market, augmented by MBT's announcement that the next Marina Bay Land Sale will be in 2013. If there is a bust, he will just call it off, as simple as that. The next Waterfront City is timed to be ready from 2015, build-to-order style; at buyers' risks. With the Circle and DTL MRT Lines all opened by then, it would be a "Golden Age" for another Election Year 2015/2016. My take is if the property market does not correct drastically by 2012 / 2013,  then by 2015; property prices will be ridiculously high and the Bubble will be dangerously full blown by then, if it is so "thick-skinned" to last for a "loud bang" only in 2015. Either the widened gap between EC and HDB flats prices will be so aggravating or the price of both HDB BTO and resale flats will be so high then that MBT may have to live by his middle name and BOW out if he should keep his MND Minister portfolio.

The PAP may say the property market "will not collapse" because theoretically I believe the FTs they brought in and new citizens approved will beef up the "Post 70s and 80s" age groups to check a shrinking CPF and a peaked withdrawal period by the aging Post 60s baby boomers, who will soon fade off economically. It was also a way to prop up the HDB 3 and 4 Rm Re-sale market once and contributed to the rising index which defied a correction in 2008/2009. So they will continue to sell aggressively the concept of a later retirement age in the next Election while beefing up the CPF base. The direct result of the propping up of the market then is the current high HDB resale prices and COV, and also ridiculous EC prices.

So with the "hot capital inflows" still coming in just as the GOVT adopts a "wait-and-see" incremental approach if more control measures are needed, when do you think the exodus of foreign funds will be ? - just before the Bust takes place 2013 ~ 2015? Unlike the difficulty and fultility to predict major "corrections" in the stock market, the "short to mid term of 2~5 years" of the local property market is  quite predictable in terms of likely scenarios, as I mentioned to some who emailed me. The exrernal drivers are less predictable which you have to watch closely.

Many might mistaken that the "hot capital inflows" will flow in the form of direct investment in properties, this may need not necessarily be so. It may flow through via other investment tools, such as purchase of stocks; and thus causing a Bubble in the stock market before moving into the property market. So you can imagine the impact if there is a "collapse", the disruption it will cause to the whole economy. This is also why I highlighted in earlier postings to watch external drivers, such as the China stock market. Watch the prices of new launches, not necessarily buy them new; but check the reasonableness of the re-sale market for a better purchase which is now rather "flat". The rsik is that the unwary will be left with the "parcel" as in a "muscial chair" game. The average Singaporean buyers tend to over-leverage (even on one property), unlike the China buyers who tend to pay off substantially or completely, espcially for the first property.

When a drastic correction does occur, how will this transform into physical terms. Let me put it in simple analogy. It could be at least a 30% correction in market value or price such as last seen in the 2008/2009 slump and equivalent to getting "one room less for a 3-Rm Condo" or "1 MPV or SUV less including COE".

The forecast in Reference #2 by Credit Suisse is another rough guide. The resultant impact could be equivalent to at least the sum total of "5 per cent in each of the next two years, on top of an estimated 15 per cent gain this year" or  :-
(a) 2010 - 15% +
(b) 2011 - 5% +
(c) 2012 - 5% +
Total : 25% 
For those who is not already in the market, do see this risk.

Next, buyers should look at risk assessment versus room for asset appreciation. I think the average Singapore buyer still looks for appreciation rather than yield. With "hot capital flows", the money is parked here only for "capital gain". When that is achieved, the next logical move is to "take profit" and "exit".

Quick Review By Property Class

Overall, as I observed from signs of the market, the distortion seems to have started despite the recent price increases of 5~11% for private properties in Nov 2010. What I observed :-

(a) MBT is claiming that the control measures implemented in End Aug are effective, but sales volume in the private sector has not dropped, and only HDB resale COV has dropped to a median of $22K. With recent Nov rebounce, there is rumour more measures will be used to hit the private sector by End Q2 2011, which is quite likely as the Election should be over by then.

(b) Smaller developers seem to be capitalising on the mix of "market uncertainty and EC euphoria" to take advantage of  ignorant buyers. There was a report in Lianhe Wan Bao that buyers who were ready to deposit their cheques for a booking after viewing the launch, but the developer turned around to say the units were "not for sales". Such choice units could be "booked" by relatives and then re-offer to those who visited the launch but were adamant to get a unit at a "premium" price. This is bad practice but the market had demonstrated it again. Many small private LH condos are asking price above $1200 psf, which is ridiculous pricing anyway. Such marketing trick seems to be timed at a disorientated market.

(c) Market analysts "speculating" that EC price will climb further in Q1 and Q2 2011 by another benchmark, even for EC @ $900/$1,200 psf, even on national TV.

(d) The market has remained robust despite the cooling measures in August, many buyers are currently buying with the self prophecy that not buying a property now will mean one will miss the opportunity ahead. If it is for a FH property, I might think so too, but why should it be so just for an EC; whether or not the Govt will continue pumping out new land supplies for EC.

(e) Developers are minding the gap of their land bids. The gap between the top bidder and next highest bid for residential sites and sites with residential components has started to narrow. The gap (measured by the difference between the top two bids divided by the second highest bid) peaked at 31 per cent for the condo plot at Miltonia Close next to Orchid Country Club in the Yishun area offered at a tender which closed in August. The margin has slipped to single-digit per cent levels, mostly between one and 4 per cent
Review by Property Class

(a) BTO
The latest Punggol Topaz comprising 1,010 units standard flats was launched on Dec 22. The selling prices range from: $166,000 to $207,000 for a 3-room flat; $267,000 to $329,000 for a 4-room flat; and $335,000 to $406,000 for a 5-room flat. This translates to a sale price of $226~$282 psf for 3Rm, $266~$328 psf for 4Rm and $275~$333 psf for 5Rm.

The selling price for the last BTO at Yishun Greenwalk on Nov 19 was $150,000~$365,000 for 3-room ~ 5-room units. The issue with BTO pricing is still a political one and its pegging to HDB re-sale flats prices. It is a matter of how much the Govt wants to price lands, many of which were acquired compulsorily at ridiculously low historical prices; even at several cents psf.

Meanwhile, HDB is prepared to launch up to 22,000 new BTO flats next year, if demand is sustained. In Q1 2011, HDB will launch about 5,000 BTO flats. The next BTO launch in January 2011 will offer 1,700 flats in Bukit Batok and Yishun.
Photo : The "Political" Price of BTO Flats

(b) DBSS
With the current push towards EC, I expect DBSS to be marginalised as an asset class. I consider it as a poorer asset class. Based on my knowledge of costs, for a 4 Rm equivalent or  a 1000 sf DBSS flat, if you can forgo your subsidy of about $30 psf, i.e. the $30 K grant, the Govt should be able to give you EC at the same price. At most, I estimate the price differential to be another $50 psf. It will be a test case if there is another launch.

A good example of a lack lustre land bid was at Upper Serangoon Road, opposite Serangoon Secondary School. The Housing Board said this was the weakest reception for a DBSS tender since 2008. The Upper Serangoon plot measures 215,278 sq ft and has a maximum gross floor area of 753,474 sq ft. This works out to be about $206 psf ppr. The site is estimated to yield 630 dwelling units. This will translates to a break-even cost of about $420 to 450 psf. This could mean a five-room flat could be launched at a price of $500,000 to $535,000 ($410 ~ 440 psf).

If you look at this price and consider what I said in the preceding paragraph, you will appreciate how ridiculous the prices of newly launched ECs are; even if you would say allow an additional $50 psf for land costs. To lower the price of ECs, do you think our Govt will push out more DBSS lands for tender?

(c) EC
The Straits Times published a good summary of "WHAT THE NEW ECs OFFER" on 11 Dec 2010. EC makes up 20% of OCT and Nov sales. Attention must have been on the latest launch of PRIVE by NTUC Choice Homes. This developer, a subsidiary of the NTUC Cooperative, had been "dormant" for a number of years.

On the 1st day of sale, 270 units were sold at average price of between $660~$689 psf. One buyer was reported to have paid $734 psf. I do not know on what grounds, but this price is certainly too high.The fact that NTUC Choice Homes is the developer may confuse the market that this is the general indicative price of the EC market. The average sale price is much lower than the Esparina next to Buangkok (avg $740 psf) and The Canopy next to Yishun Park (avg $650 psf).

The next launch Austville Residences also at Buangkok, next to Kangkar LRT; is reported to sell from $620 psf. Compared to Esparina, we have seen a price drop of about 16%, although not strictly on equal bases.

In my last posting on PTY Part XII, I abstracted part of the a ST Advert for The Canopy which advertised a sale price from $530 psf. I note recent advertisements are starting to leave out any indication of sale price psf. So buyers should be weary as developers also dangle other carrots. Both Prive and  Austville are dangling the Deferred Payment Scheme (DPS) carrot which I think is redundant since SIBOR is at record low. With China just announced the Christmas present of lowering their interest rate, I like to see what our Govt will do - maybe a New Year present to lower SIBOR again ? - LOL.

But I would not consider the selling price by the NTUC Choice Homes as "cheap". I consider this price as more appropriate for a 99 Yr LH condo, and not an EC. To re-visit, you may read my posting in Part IX.  You can see a GLC trying to push up the EC prices, obviously the GOVT will benefits from high "land sales" prices. You may also note from the ST report that the Design and Build developers are offering lower prices at The Canopy and possibly Austville.

Meanwhile, big developers are joining the EC fray with pretty high bids. CITY Developments (CDL) unit Grand Isle Holdings, in early December; has emerged as the top bidder for an executive condominium (EC) site in Segar Road, Bukit Panjang. CDL’s top bid of almost $182 million, or $271 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), coming in 15.5 per cent ahead of the second-highest offer of $157.5 million, or $234 psf ppr, submitted by EL Development.

(d) Mass market 99 Yr LH Condo
While this segment seems to be marginalised by the control measures and recent EC launches, with price staying flat; developers are putting in high land bids at "good" locations.

Far East Organization had emerged in early Nov as the top bidder for a 99 Yr LH private housing plot at Woodgrove Avenue in the Woodlands area. Its top bid of $105.12 million works out to about $333 psf GFA – about 4.2 per cent higher than the next highest bid of about $100.90 million by EL Development.

Far East is planning to develop a five-storey condo incorporating some townhouses on the site. Tenders for average suburban housing sites seem to have settled into a predictable pattern in terms of bid and price response. The top bids for such plots at the past four state tenders have been consistently in the $330-350 psf ppr range. An analyst estimates that Far East’s bid price would translate to a likely breakeven cost of about $650-700 psf. The project will likely be launched above $800 psf.

In the subsale market, units in the low-rise Rosewood Suites (under construction) were sold at $650-700 psf in the July-September period.

(e) Market shifts towards higher end Mid-Range, Luxury Class and Landed LH Properties
As I mentioned in a previous posting, if there was "no" hot capital inflows, the focus might be on the EC market. With  hot capital flows, the focus will shift towards more expensive "luxury" class assets - 99 LH, FH or even special class luxury landed bungalows such as Sentosa Cove. This had more or less happened and the good example is the back-off of a $36m deal at Sentosa Cove by China PR buyer who  found it worthwhile to forgo a $500,000 penalty in deposit, agent fees, legal fees and procedural fees.

Hence, recently launched 99 Yr LH Leedon at Farrer Road which is next to the Circle Line enjoyed brisk sales @ $1,680 psf, more expensive than the historical price of the Ex-Marco Polo Hotel site when it was launched as a condo. The brisk sales at Leedon also brought back the en-bloc of Tulip Gardens. The next to watch is the Pine Grove at Ulu Pandan.

Will prices at the Bukit Timah Condo Belt then sky-rocket when the DTL 2 MRT is opned in 2015 since most of them are either 999 Yr LH and FH properties. This commentary, "Before the gains, the pains"  in TODAY 24 Dec 2010 best summarise it. "Downtown Line Stage 2 is expected to be completed in five years' time. What does that mean for property prices today? What about from now till 2015? Till 2016 and beyond? The short answer is: There will be pains before any gains. Weakness before strength." My own comment is the pain may not be only in the disruptions in the construction phase, but also where the current Bubble is taking us.

Over at the East Coast, Far East Organization has clinched Paramount Hotel and Shopping Centre along East Coast Road for $214 million. This purchase price for land works out to about $1,178 psf ppr including development charge (DC) of $40.07 million for residential use at a plot ratio of 2.1 or $736 psf ppr including an estimated $12.8 million DC for a mix of hotel and commercial use at 3.0 plot ratio. This land cost of $1,178 psf ppr is comparable with the sale price for the The Shore nearby, also developed by the same developer. Hence if developed as a condominium project, the selling price will be ridiculously high.

Developers are showing keen interest in the landmark Lion City Hotel and Hollywood Theatre site up for sale near Paya Lebar MRT station. Including paying a premium, an extra $8 million; for the state land, and the estimated development charge of $80.8 million to convert the site into a residential development, and based on the $300 million indicative price, the price of the land works out to $843 per sq ft of potential gross floor area.

(e) The next Waterfront City
The Government’s strategy is driven first by a multi-billion-dollar revamp of the Tanjong Pagar area to promote new office, residential and other developments. There are also aims to make Tanjong Pagar a potential rival to the iconic Marina Bay as the next Waterfront City.

The mammoth GuocoLand development on the 1.5ha plot at the corner of Peck Seah Street and Choon Guan Street promises to be a landmark project and, at 280m high, among the three tallest buildings in Singapore. The developer, which paid $1.7 billion for the site, plans to build the mixed-use project on top of Tanjong Pagar MRT station and spend up to $3 billion, according to earlier reports.

More residential units are on the way as well. Keppel Tower and GE Tower will be turned into a high-rise condominium with shops and restaurants on the first floor. The project is a result of a rare land-swop deal between real estate investment trust K-Reit Asia and Keppel Land. Keppel plans to build two towers consisting of 620 apartments in total. Heritage sites like the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will be in the action too.

Analysts say those keen to enjoy the area’s full potential will have to wait another 10 to 20 years.

Profile of Buyers

Based on queries and feedbacks I had received in emails, I feel average buyers should be wary of the current dis-orientated market, EC Euphoria and seek own direction based on their own circumstances.

The "Leviathan plus Kia-su" mindset is best for the developers and marketeers to hit and net the easy prey.

Reference #1 :-
TODAY  Dec 16, 2010
Analysts say surge in private home sales reinforce the case for harsher measures

Reference #2 :-
TODAY Dec 16, 2010

Credit Suisse expects residential property prices in Singapore to increase 5 per cent in each of the next two years, on top of an estimated 15 per cent gain this year because of low interest rates, a growing population and strong economic expansion.

Any weakness in the global economy, further measures by the government to cool the property market and a hardening of interest rates will be key risks to the residential real-estate market here, it said.

Among Singapore-listed property stocks, City Developments is the investment bank's top pick because of its exposure to office properties and luxury residences, both of which have stronger prospects next year than mass-market housing.

Credit Suisse says investors should exit the residential real-estate market in China and move their money to the residential and commercial property markets in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

Reference #3 :-
TODAY Dec 22, 2010

SINGAPORE - Prices of freehold landed housing in Singapore's prime districts have surged 5.1 per cent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, compared to growth of 2 per cent in the third quarter.

The average price of landed homes in the prime districts in the fourth quarter stands at $1,693 psf, property consultant DTZ said yesterday. Outside the prime districts, landed prices are up by 4.3 per cent to $993 psf, compared to the 1.7 per cent increase a quarter ago, it said.

Overall, DTZ says this represents an increase of about 16 per cent for landed properties for the whole of this year.

Ms Chua Chor Hoon, head of DTZ South East Asia Research, noted that the limited supply of landed properties, accounting for about 26 per cent of total private housing stock, made them a prized asset.

In contrast, the supply of non-landed units, such as condominiums, is injected at a faster pace via the government land sales programme and collective sales, she said.

The resale price of leasehold condominiums in the suburban areas has held firm at $660 psf this quarter, while that of condominiums in the prime districts grew marginally by 0.4 per cent to $1,520 psf. The prices of these two non-landed segments have surpassed their previous peaks in 2007, indicating price increases are hitting a resistance wall, DTZ said.

Buyers have also exercised greater prudence following the government's cooling measures implemented this year, it added.

Reference #4 :-
ST Online Dec 22, 2010

Reference #5 :-
China raises mortgage rates in line with interest rates


  1. Hi

    you seemed very well informed of the property market. In your opinion, we should hold our horses and not buy? thanks

  2. Hi Anon 11:20

    What do you think? I am beside it daily, not because I speculate or invest daily. LOL.

    I shared my views and analyses. It is up to readers to gauge. Put simply,for the working class - yes; unless someone has other variables to overturn it. [Then please share here.] Developers and agents would not like it ... but they are always the ones to make money. As one article in TODAY said today , "As in many countries, conflicts over public morality and national strategy come down to questions of money..."

  3. Very well researched and written. Continue to educate us and keep up the good work!

  4. Hi,

    The mass market pricing is really ridiculous! $800 psf & above for the sururban areas.One day, the music will stop playing. I notice that even before a condominium is launched,the agents already started selling the units online. Could it be that the agents are buying from the developers and selling them higher for their gain?

  5. Housing and car prices in SG are really getting too high. E.g. cars cost 5 times as much in SG vs. US.
    I've never really liked DBSS and EC as they have all sorts of restrictions which are similar to HDB flats and in my opinion, they only appeal to a relatively small market segment.

    This is probably obvious to all of us: why not take advantage of the different market cycles in US, China, and SG. In US, housing prices are likely to go into another downtrend. It earlier rose during the past few months due to tax-credit for first-time home buyers, so "future" buyers were rushing to buy a house before the tax-credit period ends (and it ended a few months ago). US housing market is also suffering from huge backlog of finished houses. I'm personally looking forward to buying a house here in US 1-1.5 yrs later when I've saved enough and settle in a more permanent location.
    As for China, my guess is that housing prices there will start to trend down before Singapore does. What do you think? Specifically, I'll be keeping an eye on Nanjing's prices. However, one could also say that Nanjing is developing and thus prices (although already ridiculously high now) will not come down too much.


  6. Hi Yak,

    Thank you for sharing your most insightful analysis and comments on this blog. I read the entire series property-bubble-investment-trap-01-to-13 in one sitting. Most insightful. Thank you for a wonderful learning experience.

    Just a quick note ... doesn't it seem that a rising tide will raise all boats? Granted, to different extremes ... but won't the falling tide also sink all boats?

    In your 2012-2013-2015 scenario, doesn't the softening of the market only benefit the investor? For many of us whom are owner-occupiers, the softening market also means that the SELLING will be lower - having said that, it brings me to the key question ...

    In your view of your 2012-2013-2015 scenario, where do you see HDB resale prices in relation to the softening of the private property market?

    PS1 - Yes, I'm a HDBer toying with the idea of upgrading to a private property but not liking the prices right now, even though the banks are readily approving my application for loans :P

    PS2 - Thank you again for a most wonderful educational session on a Tuesday afternoon.

    Best Regards,


  7. Hi YS

    I believe the pty investment sentiments and rankings could be :-

    (1) USA
    (2) UK
    (3) Germany
    (4) China
    (5) France

    On investment in emerging c'tries,
    (1) Brazil
    (2) China
    (3) India

    Based on certain attributable preferences, pty investment in US and China will look brighter.

    In terms of pty types ranking:-
    (1) Apartments
    (2) Retail Buildings
    (3) Hotels
    (4) Offices (more pop with institutional investors)
    (5) Industrial

    As for China, no drastic correction as yet despite the control measures; just like in S'pore. But in S'pore now the market sentiments are being played up, despite the current high prices, and it becomes very risky for the average buyers.

    The profile of the buyers and property markets are totally different between China & Singapore.

  8. Hi Marc Part 1

    Thanks for your interest, very enduring to read all 13 parts at one go, but that would probably keep you more well informed.

    Looking at your questions, it seems to me I had explained in a different context to someone before, either to some comments posted in this blog or to certain personal queries in emails to me. I promised to keep profiles confidential. Hahaha...you might want to read the 13 parts again. LOL.

    Anyway, I will attempt to answer you briefly here.

    @ "Just a quick note ... doesn't it seem that a rising tide will raise all boats? Granted, to different extremes ... but won't the falling tide also sink all boats?"

    2 Yes to both yr qns. It depends on what one wants out of "short-term vs long term investments". What sort of returns? No 2 investors' profiles are the same. No 2 properties are the same. Most are caught because they have to live in 1 and they also want to upgrade / speculate in one / or buy another ... and ended up overleveraged all-in-one.

    In stocks, for long term investments, if you cannot "buy low and sell high", and you "buy high" and want to get out by "selling high", it could still be easy. But not the case for pty which is why I think the buying decision and timing is more important. The quantum of investment is also big and heavy. It is not a homogenous commodity...and with policies plus control measures ... the complications set in. So it is not easy if you buy high, and want to sell high especially if you are forced to liquidate. Not forgetting unemployment and rising interest rates scenarios.

  9. Hi Marc Part 2

    @"In your 2012-2013-2015 scenario, doesn't the softening of the market only benefit the investor?"

    Yes and no. If you are in the game, you want your property to climb, just like those who buy high now. So I am watching those EC purchasers .. esp those who bought at $700~800 or more psf now. If you are a HDB owner and work hard now to pay off the loan, at least you pay off part of the loan then, but because you have only one HDB property you may be forced to sell low then, unless the PAP Govt brings in 1 more million people. In a 1-to-1 swap you will certainly be "caught-in-between" by our policies and market mechanics...worst if it is between the HDB~EC-Mass Condo market spectrum. But if you can pay-off by then and sell yr HDB at a resaonable price, I believe you are timed for a good purchase for private property.

    If you study the 2008/2009 HDB Resale Index vs PPP Index, it was almost a "freak" scenario. The HDB Resale Index defied a fall. I believe it was propped up because of foreigners who came in, bought and pushed up 3 & 4 Rm re-sale flats while new supply was curtailed...it gave a chance for people to upgrade and hence push up private condo to current high...and still rising...without looking at the category of property.

    @"In your view of your 2012-2013-2015 scenario, where do you see HDB resale prices in relation to the softening of the private property market?"

    Even if MBT had engineered the 2008/9 market defying feat I am not sure if he can do magic again. Perhaps I had mentioned it somewhere. Because the HDB re-sales did not corrected drastically in 2008/9 but climbed instead, we may see it take a greater dip. Because the private property market had corrected and climbed then, I believe it will take a more gentle fall based on what I observed of condo resale prices. But the new launches, particularly the new ECs, which are ridiculously priced will certainly take a substantial fall in price, at least a 25%~30% fall if the external driver is grave. Most of these had aimed for a new higher benchmarked price of about $200psf despite standing on a poorer property class as base.

    @ "PS1 - Yes, I'm a HDBer toying with the idea of upgrading to a private property..." . This note alone is insufficient and does not help me to understand your investment and risk profiles. LOL.

    Hope I have answered you ... or just email me your further specific queries.