Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Mortgagee Sale Properties In H2 Unlikely: DTZ

Source : The Business Times, July 16, 2009

The firm says it could be due to banks being less anxious to foreclose

BARGAIN hunters waiting for more distressed properties to show up at auctions could be in for a disappointment.

Real estate consultancy firm DTZ believes that the number of mortgagee sale properties will not rise in the second half of the year as the open market has improved.

'The recent buying interest in the property market and stabilisation of prices across all sectors in Q2 2009 would have enabled cash-strapped owners to dispose of their properties,' says DTZ in a report released yesterday.

Fresh data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) illustrates the renewed enthusiasm among home buyers.

Developers sold 1,825 new units in June, breaking the previous record of 1,723 units set in August 2007.

In fact, after a spike in February, the number of mortgagee sale properties put up for auction has tapered off.

'The less than expected mortgagee sales in the current economic downturn could be due to banks being less anxious to foreclose now,' DTZ says.

It explains that the government has been urging banks to give debtors more leeway to service their loans.

Banks are also not rushing to foreclose on properties if they have to accept lower prices and risk ending up with too much stock.

DTZ's views on the number of mortgagee sale properties to surface differ slightly from another industry watcher's.

Colliers International deputy managing director and auctioneer Grace Ng expects to see a 'marginal increase' in such cases at auctions.

Colliers' report late last month notes that it can take six months or longer for a bank to repossess properties and put them up for auction, after owners default on their loans.

Banks may also give owners some time to sell the properties on their own.

As a result, more mortgagee sales may only enter the market in the second half of the year.

DTZ and Colliers share similar views on most other trends in the auction market.

For instance, the value of properties sold through auction has certainly picked up tremendously since last year.

According to DTZ, major auction houses in Singapore posted $72.5 million in transaction value in the first half of this year.

This already surpasses the transaction value in the whole of 2008, which was $65.5 million. In particular, buying interest soared in March and remained buoyant up till June.

June was the most active month, accounting for 34 per cent of the total number of properties sold in the first half of the year.

The proportion of properties successfully sold through auctions also rose between March and June.

The success rate in that period was 26 per cent, compared with just 5 per cent between January and February.

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