The District 16 town of Bedok is the most popular pick this year, said Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director of research and consultancy at SLP International.
So far this year, Bedok has recorded 3,848 caveats for both new and resale transactions. More than 100 units were sold at the 577-unit Archipelago project during its preview weekend earlier this month, at an average of $1,000psf.
Bedok Residences stirred up controversy over its queuing system last month, ultimately selling more than 470 units out of the project's 583 homes at a $1,359psf median price.
"Bedok benefits from a big pool of people who live in the east. This means the pool of potential buyers and sellers is also bigger than in other areas. Most of these people also tend to be reluctant to move outside the east and tend to seek out homes within the eastern neighbourhoods," said Mr Mak.
The rapid redevelopment of the Punggol area has boosted the popularity of this fledgling waterfront new town.
According to SLP International, this has helped boost the ranking of District 19, which includes Hougang, Punggol and Sengkang, to the No. 1 spot for new home sales, with a total of 3,102 deals so far this year.
The neighbourhood recently entered a new stage of development, with more than 5,000 new private homes slated for completion over the next few years. Many buyers will be drawn by an attractive new waterway and plans for a new mall near the MRT station.
Still, some buyers have tended to dismiss the neighbourhood, saying it does not measure up to the amenities and infrastructure boasted by mature towns like Toa Payoh and Tampines.
But others have been more open to the area's development potential, encouraged by the Government's plam to establish Punggol as a waterfront town. In the first nine months of this year, close to 1,900 uncompleted units were launched for sale in District 19.
Projects such as A Treasure Trove and The Luxurie proved a hit, with each development achieving take-up rates of more than 70%.
These projects have helped to boost overall sales activity in Punggol by 9% year-on-year, and lifted new home sales in the area by 40%, according to date compiled by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
Yishun and Sembawang
Yishun and Sembawang have also done well, riding on healthy demand for private homes with innovative designs, said Mr Ong Kah Seng, director of property research firm R'ST Research.
So far this year, 1,184 new homes have been sold in District 27, which encompasses the Admiralty, Sembawang and Yishun areas. Several notable projects such as Miltonia Residences and Canberra Residences have contributed to the boost in new home sales.
Still, Mr Ong added that such far-flung areas face some hurdles as they are not so well-located and do not have significant development potential.
This means some buyers may sideline these areas in favour of neighbourhoods like Jurong East and Paya Lebar which have better fundamentals like strategic location and long-term development goals.
Coming in third in new homes sales ranking is District 15, with nearly 1,149 deals closed this year. Made up of neighbourhoods such as Katong, Joo Chiat and Marine Parade, this location has once again proved to be popular among home buyers.
The area has also done well in overall home sales. According to data compiled by Savills, District 15 chalked up 11% of the total caveats lodged this year, second to the 12% garnered by District 19.
Ms Chia Siew Chuin, Colliers International's head of research, said the location's popularity stems from its proximity to the city, airport and recreational and leisure facilities such as East Coast Park.
"(Districts 15 and 14) also host a wide array of supporting amenities... as well as a large selection of food and beverage haunts," said Ms Chia.
District 9 and 11
Despite being among Singapore's most prestigious postal codes, Districts 9 and 11 have achieved less than stellar sales this year.
The two areas include high-end luxury homes in the Chancery, Bukit Timah, Orchard, Oxley and Cairnhill neighbourhoods.
It has been a lacklustre year for the high-end and luxury home segment. The poor transaction volumes in these two particular districts have dragged them to the bottom five postal districts for this year, said Dr Chua Yang Liang, head of research at JLL. Year-on-year sales in District 11 slumped 53% while those in District 9 tumbled 47%.
Dr Chua said limited new supply in the prime market is to blame: "People looked for better value options with a smaller overall quantum as the economy stuttered and buyers became more budget conscious."
"(This benefited) the mass market as the more affordable properties on offer drew in the buyers," he said, adding that foreign buyers have also been switching their location preference.
Marymount and Thomson
Interest in this District 20 neighbourhood has been building throughout the year, partly due to the opening of the remaining sections of the MRT network's Circle Line, which now links the area to Holland Village and Bouna Vista.
"(The neighbourhood) is one of the few low-rise estates available which is centrally-located, and perhaps still considered affordable for the average to above-average income buyer," said Mr Ong.
A 603sqft unit at Tresalveo, a condominium located opposite Marymount MRT station, sold last month for $748,000 or $1,241psf.
Mr Ong added that the smaller but more strategically located neighbourhood gives off an exclusive, quaint vibe, which could differentiate the area from the rest of the housing supply that will come on-stream in the next few months.
Set to underperform
Districts 9, 10, 11
Prime areas popular among foreign buyers are likely to be the worse performers next year, said JLL's Dr Chua. He explained that these areas will experience a drop in transaction volumes involving foreign buyers as they feel the pinch from the new 10% stamp duty.
Other analysts said the market for high-end properties had been slow even before the measures and this trend is set to continue, with prices and sale volumes remaining in the doldrums.
The changing profile of foreign buyers is partially to blame, said Mr Mak.
"More of them are from China and are turning to suburban residential projects, this compared to earlier batches of buyers like Europeans, Indonesians and Australians who tend to favour snapping up homes in the prime districts."
Next year will no doubt be a challenging one for the private residential market as it adapts to the new cooling measures and the economic slowdown.
Segments within the residential market will become more distinct, say analysts, with landed property to be a more resilient sector due to its limited supply and lower foreign participation.
For now, both buyers and developers are playing a waiting game, said property consultants, and a clearer picture of what tone the market will take will probably emerge only later next year.
Source: The Straits Times
Our two-cents worth on the subject: Unless a new world order takes over the local private property market scene next year, we reckon apartments in Districts 9, 10 and 11 will generally hold their values better than those in the other districts. This is especially when a major price correction does occur.
As such, these "prime" districts will continue to generate decent demands (albeit lower expected transaction volumes due to the new cooling measures that may discourage some foreign buyings).