Covid-19 coronavirus

Why should I Invest During Covid-19 Crisis

Crisis

For most of us, investment is usually the lowest priority when we are experiencing an extraordinary global crisis, as we are unsure of the current situation.

The most common concern is, if I invest now, would it drop further? This mindset is not wrong, however, if this is what you are thinking, you should not consider yourself to be an investor, as an investor is someone who is willing to step in with a manageable and predicted risk planned.

Before the crisis became certain, it was a very good idea to plan ahead and decide what your investment strategy is. Now that we are approaching the last part of the Circuit Breaker period, I am seeing that we are starting to work on having our economy recovered as soon as possible.

There are also news saying that we are going into recession, or maybe that we are currently already in recession. Recession is something out of our control, so why are we not taking this opportunity to invest on something that we could potentially appreciate after the recession?

Recession does not mean to stop all investment. It means, we are to be more careful in investing. In the market, 2 common investments that many talk about are, investing in Shares and investing in property.

A simple guideline to see which to invest can be, investing in share, most likely a short term and investing in property is very much a longer term.

Of course, being a realtor, I will still be recommending investing in property. Some of the reasons being,

  • You will still be having income, to support your mortgage repayment. Worst case situation, it may not be all, but there will still be support
  • You will get back your investment, if you sell your property at the right time . Especially in Singapore, with the limited land size. the chances of Singapore property prices to be on the up is higher.

Key Impact on Asia Property Market During Crisis

SARS

SARS happened between 2002 and 2004. During this period, many of us were more concerned with the infection rather than the investment, but the market never stopped because of that.

Let us do some analysis on the price index during the SARS period. Based on the chart, the price index moves down, in the year 2000.

That is 3 years before the SARS infection. The reason for the year 2000 dip in the price was the bubbling of dot-com.

You might be aware, dot-com, which is the Internet, was booming in late 1990. It has caused rapid growth in the U.S. technology stock. Many venture capitalist(VC) came in and supported them.

In the year 2000, the dot-com bubble burst and it affected the market globally. Singapore was also affected and during that period, many of the dot-com company was forced to cease their operations

Global financial crisis

15th September 2008 was an unforgettable date for many people, especially for those in the investment and financial sector.

On that day, the Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, with a debt of 613 billion. It was the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history during that time of filing.

Looking at the private property price index during the Global Financial Crisis, the market came down after the announcement of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.

The market has made a return within 2 years. The chart indicates that, in the year 2010, the market has come up and it went on continually for a few years.

For those that have been in the property market, or been following closely on the market price index, The price went on an uptrend till 2013. The coming down of the price post-2013 was due to other reasons, as there were 2 financial crisis in the year 2013 and 2015, but it did not affect the market much.

Covid-19

The Covid-19, also known as the Coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China. This virus snowballed wordwide, and it was declared as a public health emergency of International concern by WHO (World Health Organization).

On 11th March 2020, it was being announced as a pandemic. As of 18th June 2020, more than 8.4 million cases across the world with over 450,000 deaths.

Looking back into the Singapore property market situation. After Q1 of 2019, the number of transactions has been on the rise. As of last quarter, which is Q1 of 2020, despite the Covid-19 situation, the transactions have not gone below what happened a year back. As in Q1 2019, there isn’t any crisis.

Data Source : URA Web Site

As for the price index. The average price index across all 3 region, which is,
CCR – Core Central Region
OCR – Outside Central Region
RCR – Rest of Central Region
areas are as follow

Data Source : URA website

Since 2016, the price has been moving between the price index of 139 to 142. After Q4 of 2017, the market has picked up. Since then, The price index has never dropped below 150.

In Q1 2020, which is the period of Covid-19, the index has come down in comparison to Q4 of 2019, but it has not past the price index of 150.

Analysis

With the analysis of the price index, personally, this is still a good time to invest in property in Singapore with the following considerations:

Economical Stability of Singapore

Singapore has grown to be a first world country in a short time of 30 years. We have proven our economical stability. Since the year 2001, we have been achieving positive GDP growth.

Data Source : Macrotrends

During the above mention crisis period, which is SARS between 2003 to 2004, Lehman Brothers in the year 2008, Singapore is still going strong in growth.

Limited Land Size

With the total land size of 792 square meters. Singapore makes sure that the property process is gradually being appreciated. The government controls the release of land accordingly to the needs, hence, this will not create sudden supplies of land leading to price crashes.

The alternative land supplies will be through the en-bloc process and developers who wanted to en-bloc any of the existing projects will need to consider, the market situation and the cost Vs the land released by the government.

Capital Gains and Property Inheritance Tax

Singapore property transaction does not exercise capital gain tax. Which means the profits that are made though the investment in properties are not liable for taxation.

This gives the investor, like yourself, the freehand to decide how much profit you wish to make from the property, basing on the market situation.

Property Inheritance Tax, which is also known as estate duty, is the tax charged on the total asset value of the deceased. This tax was being waived for the person that passes on after 14 February 2008. Since you are reading my article, you are not liable for this tax.

Conclusion

Singapore, due to the land size, the stability of both economical and political and development growth, has created a very unique situation for investor.

Be it good or bad time, investor are always keen in considering investing in Singapore. Taking the current Covid-19 situation, I strongly believe Singapore will be able to maintain, if not better the property market situation.

We might be seeing some headwinds for now. This potentially is a good opportunity for investors like yourself to enter the market while the prices are still soft.

Once we have moved out of the current crisis, as we have already gone into phase II of opening from Circuit Breaker. The price might have gone upwards, leading to higher investment amount for the same property.

Covid affecting real estate property

What will the future of real estate be POST…

What Will The Future Of Real Estate Be POST CoVid-19?

CoVid-19 pandemic, a term that has induced fear in people since the beginning of the year 2020. They have been an increase in the number of both infected patients and deaths. people are all grounded at home, people are working from home, and more… … …

No one knows, when this will be over as WHO (World Health Organization) warned on 13th May 2020 that, “The New Coronavirus may never go away”

Buying Selling Property
Source: Channel News Asia website

Despite the fears that are present, we have no control over the departure of the Coronavirus, instead, we would have to adjust and adapt to the new lifestyle. What are the potential changes we would face and the impact, especially on the real estate market?

What Are The Changes During Covid-19

Shopping from HOME

Buy, Sell and rent. Property wealth planning

BEFORE COVID-19: Doing shopping from the mobile phone, seems to be the things that people from Gen Y and after has been doing for a long time. As for people from Gen X and before, buying things online is more leisure then necessity

DURING COVID-19: this is no longer the truth. Many of the older generations start to go online to get items that vary from basic necessities such as groceries to other non-essential items.

Exercising

BEFORE COVID-19: People going to the Gym to have their workout. Going to the stadium for their daily runs and more.

DURING COVID-19: People are doing exercise from home, in front of the TV via YouTube, etc… … …

Internet

BEFORE COVID-19: Internet lagging is fine, I have my mobile data plan

DURING COVID-19: I can’t take it anymore. The Internet is far too slow

Home Base learning

BEFORE COVID-19: Students are rushing to school every morning, with parents busy preparing their child and sending them to school.

DURING COVID-19: Children are staying at home, facing the computer to attend their lessons, and doing homework via the Internet Portal.

Working From Home

BEFORE COVID-19: Parents rushing to work after sending children to school, grabbing breakfast while on the way to work,

DURING COVID-19: Sitting in front of the computer, replying to emails while having breakfast.

I believe there are more things that have changed over the past few months. We have accepted and started living with the change. However, how has this change impacted me?

A recent survey has been done on 28th April 2020, over 2700 employees show that most employees are keen to continue working from home even after the Covid-19 circuit breaker.

Buying Selling Property
Source data : Strait Time

What is the Impact Due to CoVid-19

CoVid-19 has had a huge impact on the financial sector, however, to what degree is the damage? There is no clear timeline as to how long this pandemic will last.

The direct victim of the impact would be Labour, Business owners, and Revenue

Labour

Organizations are being “forced” to have employees working from home. As we know, the operation of an organization is dependent on humans. Humans contribute to the functioning of the organization leading to revenue generated.

This switch in the labor pattern can potentially lead the company towards something that is known as a Gig Economy.

Those organizations that are heavily involved in the Gig Economy before CoVid-19 include

Food Delivery – Grabfood, foodpanda, Deliveroo and etc… … …
Online shopping – Fairprice Online, redmart, SingPost and etc… … …
Transport System – Grab, Gojek

During the WHM (work from home) model. Many companies are also put into a situation where they have to readjust their operating model, identifying what is working and what is not.

Thus, this leads to an increase in the unemployment rate. Those retrenched employees, in-turn, switch to providing services in the Gig Economy.

Business Owner

In the earlier paragraph, I shared that companies re-look into the operating model, slicing off extra resources to ensure the organization works with the leanest resources delivering the utmost results.

These company are also seriously looking into using technology to help deliver higher productivity. The aim is to achieve, the same Return of investment if not, lower investment.

There is a sharp increase in the use of cloud-based Collaborative Tools. Tools such as Zoom, Skype, video conferencing(VC) solutions are being used, to replace the regular meetings that happen in any organization. Cloud storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. is being used to fulfill their document transfers.

Employees that are unable to keep up to the paced will be dropped off. These groups will end up becoming unemployed staff.

With the use of those technologies, companies have successfully transferred their CapEx. Which is a large upfront investment to OpEx, which is a running cost model. This gives the business owner, a better sense of cash flow control.

Revenue

With the infecting of Covid-19, there has been a significant decrease in sales across all industries, with the decrease in sales in some industries, going up to as high as 75%. With that drop in sales, all companies would be looking at ways to reduce costs to ensure sustainability.

Some considerations would be a reduction in rental space, closures of any non-profiting outlets, pay cuts, etc… .. …

What is the Impact on Real Estate

Real Estate, in many situations, is a very unique class on its own. Although it is impacted by the global/local economy, it may not be relative. Sometimes, the impact can be reversed.

In Real Estate, you have the traditional stuff like office, retail, residential, and industrials, that are available for you to invest or “trade”. However, is now the right time to invest in those spaces?

Office

With the earlier survey taken, as employees preferred to be working from home, employers do not require the same amount of office space, hence, there could potentially be an oversupply of office spaces in Singapore after CoVid-19.

They might be looking at downsizing the current spatial requirements to reduce rental investment, which would lead to a lowering of operating expenses.

Buying Selling Property
Data source : URA website

Office space rentals decreased by 0.8% in Q1 2020, as compared to a 3.2% decrease in Q4 2019.

Buying Selling Property
Data source : URA website

Prices for the sales of office space has also decreased by 4.0% in Q1 2020. As it compared with the 0.5% decrease in the Q4 2019

Retail

Covid-19 has changed the shopping culture of most people. Online shopping became part of our lifestyle. Ordered items will be delivered to our doorstep.

The space required for retail will potentially drop and there might also be a potential decrease in the number of people visiting the mall.

With the drop in requirement of retail space. The landlord will potentially switch those retail space to an F&B space, with a smaller footprint.

Residential

As real estate events are now classified as non-essential services, the regular viewing process cannot take place. Many buyers and tenants are not willing to commit without being able to view the units

Thanks to Technology today, buyers are now able to view the potential units online and still commit to their interested units. It goes the same for the tenant, where they can have a sense of the internal layout and offer an LOI (Letter of Intent) to the landlord.

Seeing what technology has done to assist in the buying and renting process, the residential property is still on the move. It is not going as fast or as smoothly as it was before CoVid-19, but for sure, it is not still.

Therefore, as everyone needs a roof over their head, be it local citizens, or expatriate that has come from other countries, the requirement for residential property is still a demand. The transaction is still happening, although it is slow, it’s never still.

Industrial

Like Office and Retail spaces, industrial spaces are also challenging for now and even after Covid-19. office spaces are still required by the organization. But, the upside of industrial is, it is better than Retail and office space

Why my opinion is so, the reason being that industrial is kind of hard to “downsize” or switch. For example, a car repair workshop requires that space for the repair of cars. The space required must minimally be able to fit the car into the workshop.

Another example is, heavy industrial dealing with stainless steel requires a minimum size so as to have their machinery in-place to do the job. As long as they are operational, they will require that working space.

Conclusion

In Conclusion, real estate in Singapore will never die. With that limited land area of 721.5 KM square. We will be housing, to-date close to 5.7 million people. Singapore is looking into having 6.9 million in population in 2030, 10 years from now.

Therefore, that incremental of 1 million population will have to “stay” somewhere. Therefore, as I have shared above, residential can go slow but it will never die.

Property investment into residential property is still showing good prospects as a rental will still be of demand. 1 million population in 10 years will not be through organic growth, a big portion it will have to be migrated in.