Not freehold? No problem!

By The Folks @PropTalk - August 23, 2012 1 Comment
About three in four private residential projects launched in the past year are 99-year leasehold developments, according to some property analysts.

Demand for these units has been strong, and market watchers said home buyers should be aware of what they are buying into, as the capital value of leasehold properties depreciates progressively as the development ages.

Experts said the price premium for a freehold property could be as high as 40%.

Demand for many new 99-year leasehold private homes has been red hot, partly driven by the large number of such projects in the market.

They account for about 77% of new private homes placed for sale between June 2011 and June 2012, according to SLP International Property Consultants.

Analysts said there's also a mindset change among some home buyers now and they are highly mobile when it comes to housing.

For instance, some buyers may take a short-term view on their home purchase, opting to move to another property after five to 10 years, so it doesn't matter if the project is freehold or not.

For investors, market watchers said new leasehold units offer a better rental yield at 3.5 to 4.2%, compared to about 2.5 to 3.% for freehold homes.

But those looking at wealth preservation or handing down their homes to their children will be better off with a freehold property.

Ku Swee Yong, CEO, International Property Advisor, said: "99-year leasehold is always considered with a little bit of discount. The theoretical treatment of a 99-year leasehold land should be a depreciation of about 1% per year.

"So if you were to buy a property at $1,000 psf, each year its value should depreciate by $10 psf."

Nicholas Mak, executive director, SLP International Property Consultants, said: "For freehold properties, when the property is more than 20 years old and is ageing, and it is time for re-development perhaps through collective sale, the value of the land in a way is a bit more preserved because the developer would not need to pay the government a land premium to top-up the lease."

Analysts said a freehold property also commands a price premium over a comparable leasehold project.

This price premium could vary between 10 and 40%.

Mr Mak said: "Let's say we have two identical projects... and the only difference is their land tenure - one freehold, the other a 99-year leasehold. The freehold will be priced higher than leasehold projects, anywhere from 10 to 30% or even as much as 40%."

Leasehold or freehold, comments gathered on Channel NewsAsia's Facebook page are mixed.

But most agree that location is still the most important factor.
Source: Channel News Asia

The wife and I have friends who will only go for freehold (or 999-year at the least) properties, as they believe that the value of such property are better preserved. We, on the other hand, have never owned a freehold property, mainly because we are unwilling to pay the price premium. And if you are buying for own-stay and is prepared to hold out, chances are that you will not lose money even with an older leasehold property... at least in our experience anyway. (* fingers crossed *)

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1 comment to ''Not freehold? No problem!"

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  1. Ku Swee Yong, CEO, International Property Advisor, said: "99-year leasehold is always considered with a little bit of discount. The theoretical treatment of a 99-year leasehold land should be a depreciation of about 1% per year.

    This is a very silly comment to come out of a CEO. Look at Marina Sail. Location is the most important. Do we see condo next to MRT depreciate year by year?

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