Singapore property giant – CapitaLand announced its earnings for the quarter ended 30th September 2017 yesterday. From reading the announcements and presentation by CapitaLand, one question came to SPK’s mind – “Is Capitaland ready to jump on the enbloc bandwagon?”
Let SPK share some of his personal insights and key takeaways from CapitaLand’s results below:
1. CapitaLand is running out of landbank and sales inventory in Singapore
Take a look at the CapitaLand’s Singapore property sales performance this year in the table below:
Amidst the improvement in market sentiments, CapitaLand has performed credibly in the past few quarters, selling more than a hundred units of its existing property inventory every quarter.
Despite the improvement in sentiments and better sales, CapitaLand has continued to come out with marketing strategies, such as deferred payment scheme, rental rebate scheme and discounts from list price. This was probably because a significant number of units in its inventory are big size units with high price quantum. These units are still difficult to sell under current market conditions. CapitaLand might be using this window of opportunity to clear its inventory of ‘difficult-to-sell’ stocks and avoid further ABSD.
So, what is left for CapitaLand to sell in Singapore?
As at October 2017, CapitaLand has only a remaining 141 residential units in its Singapore sales inventory. Majority of them could probably be sold out within a quarter or two if we use its past sales performance as a gauge, although some of the units may remain difficult to sell.
In its sales inventory, the majority of the unsold units (38%) are the remnant units in Sky Habitat and CapitaLand has recently introduced a 5% rental rebate, on top of the 15% discount off list price to buyers, which makes the pricing looks attractive at around S$1,400 psf. Hence, it is expected that sales of Sky Habitat will continue to remain strong and this project should sell out rather sooner than later.
You might be wondering what is the big issue even if CapitaLand does not have anything to sell. In an ideal scenario, CapitaLand would probably be better to just sit patiently on its cash hoard, bid for land at realistic prices and wait for one day when the market cools and it can then buy land at a reasonable price and start selling again.
But in reality, considerations are always different. Without new project sales, CapitaLand’s earnings will drop, at a time when other developers are going report strong earnings from new launches. This might result in a drop in Its share price and shareholders may also lose confidence in its management. Hence, replenishing its landbank might seem more urgent than before with its earnings at stake.
2. A Change in the tone of management’s forward-looking outlook guidance
Let us take a look at the written outlook guidance from CapitaLand’s management:
“CapitaLand expects the impact of property cooling measures to continue to weigh on the residential market. Nonetheless, the Group will continue to selectively source for new sites to stock its residential pipeline.”
“CapitaLand expects the property cooling measures to continue to weigh on the residential market. Nonetheless, the Group will continue to selectively source for new sites to stock its residential pipeline.”
“CapitaLand expects the property cooling measures to continue to weigh on the residential market. Nonetheless, the Group will continue to source for well-located sites to build its residential pipeline.”
“The Group expects residential property market sentiment to improve, underpinned by increased buying volume and a rise in home prices. The Group will continue to adopt a disciplined approach and source for well-located sites to build its residential pipeline.”
Yes, after many quarters of concerns on the impact of government’s cooling measures, the dark cloud has finally dispersed and management is now more optimistic on the Singapore residential market!
Time for CapitaLand to act?
During the last enbloc cycle, CapitaLand (under former CEO, Mr Liew Mun Leong) was one of the big players in the market, snatching up 2 big plots of HUDC sites (Farrer Court and Gillman Heights) with its joint venture partners. Will CapitaLand under Mr Lim Ming Yan adopt the same strategy to build up its landbank, and creating wealth for enbloc owners?
Maybe SPK is reading too much into it. But let’s watch this space closely.