How will the circuit breaker affect the property market?

The unofficial word of the year, ‘unprecedented’, is the perfect way to describe these times right now. From 7 April 2020, Singapore has officially entered the circuit breaker period (similar to a lockdown in other countries), in order to slow down the escalating COVID-19 infections. During this time, Singaporeans are advised to stay home as much as possible.

Working from home and being in close proximity with others 24/7 may take a toll on your mental health.

Working from home and being in close proximity with others 24/7 may take a toll on your mental health. | Source: Anthony Tran

In tandem with the circuit breaker, a new law, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, was also hurriedly passed in Parliament on 7 April. To reduce the risk of infection, the new law bans all gatherings with family or friends who do not live together. Gatherings at home, public spaces, such as HDB void decks and parks, are also banned.

Only essential services such as supermarkets, delivery services, food suppliers and energy manufacturers, are allowed to continue to operate from their premises. For the rest of the non-essential businesses, they must stop operations at their workplaces. You can only perform work by telecommuting from home.

How the circuit breaker affects people’s mental health and emotions

Working from home is now the new normal. For the first time, people are now experiencing the effect of living and working at home all the time.

They live in proximity with every family member nearly all the time, with more chances of interaction and also friction. Some families will find out that their current residence is too small for their needs. Conversely, some families would find that they actually do not need such a huge space even if they were to stay home all the time.

A shift in lifestyle priorities

Many people would also establish a new routine because working from home may blur the lines of work and living. One of the trends we see is the motivation to get a “quarantine glo-up” transformation and to strengthen their bodies.

People would try to get fit during this period of time. Having space to exercise at home, exercise facilities, nature trails and parks nearby may be one of the key lifestyle priorities when it comes to choosing their living environment.

Prior to the need to work from home, the proximity to amenities such as eateries and markets may not be that important. However, now people need to cook or to buy takeaway food for their three meals. Families would now place a greater emphasis on such amenities. Elderly living alone may not be adequately cared for during this period of time. Their siblings, children or relatives might decide to invite them to move in.

Prediction: What will change after the circuit breaker?

After the circuit breaker period is over, I predict that families that have felt the effects of space constraints will have the impetus to upgrade their living space and also to move closer to amenities.

Few alternative states?

  1. Action to upgrade or downgrade or move to another location
  2. Inaction, remain as status quo
  3. Inaction change in routine action

Advice: How to take advantage of before the change happen?

If you felt that you would like to make a change to your living location, my advice is to do it sooner rather than later. There will be many people that are thinking of moving as well to take advantage of slight increase in supply of new units right now. You could very well get a great deal during this period!

Finding a new property can be tricky during this time when circuit breakers are necessary to avoid the spread of the deadly virus. Do you know you still can continue property viewing from the comforts of your home? Remember to enjoy the process, and let your agent take on the stress and help you find the place that could fit your needs.

Contact Us

Whatsapp message or call KC from Home Quarters and begin finding your new home today: +65 8809 2889! Having 10 years of experience in the realtor industry, he is extremely knowledgeable about everything to help you find your new home today.

We’d also love to hear your opinions on this article! You can let us know through commenting on our YouTube video that we did on this article, sending us a quick email, or hitting us up on our Facebook and Instagram pages to shoot us a quick direct message.

That’s all for this article! Stay safe, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

What to Look Out for Over Virtual Property Viewing During Circuit Breaker?

On April 3, 2020, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared that everyone in the country must remain at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. He likened the situation to a circuit breaker, a device that safely blocks the current flow in an electric circuit.

The order was supposed to last until May 4. Still, the Prime Minister had to extend the community circuit breaker until June 1 due to the continuous transmission of the globally dreaded virus.

This necessary measure already affected a lot of businesses, including the property investment sector. According to reports, the percentage of HDB flat resale transactions dropped significantly in April. Since the strict protocols that shut down most activities in the city-state will soon be over, some of the affected businesses may resume.

But the number of property agents conducting virtual viewing continues to be on the rise to adapt to the “new normal” and follow the safe distancing recommendations of the government. 

A quiet Merlion Park during the circuit breaker in 2020. | Source: Facebook

You may still need to find a new property while the government slowly eases Singapore reopening. Here are some ways to help you look for a new place to stay during the circuit breaker period.

Tip #1: Ask your agent for thorough virtual property viewings

Whether you are planning to buy or rent a new residential unit, virtual house tours could serve as your alternative to the actual house tour that you usually do before the circuit breaker took effect.

This is especially useful if you are looking at new condominium developments right now when many developers’ show galleries remain close at the moment of publishing. A video walkthrough property tour, or 3D property tour of the show gallery unit coupled with floor-plans has led many buyers to purchase units even during the circuit breaker period. 

There are mainly 3 types of virtual property tours that exist in Singapore: the video walkthrough property tour, 3D virtual property tour and also lastly, livestream property tours. As mentioned previously, for new condominium launches, as the actual unit is still being built, video walkthrough property tours and 3D virtual property tours of the show gallery are useful for buyers to visualise what they are purchasing.

However, what about resale property? Most of the residential resale property is being lived in by either the seller or tenants. It will be advantageous to ask for a livestream video property tour to see the actual unit so that you can see the actual nooks and crannies of the unit. You can ask to include a detailed look at all the rooms and spaces within the house.

It would be best if the agent will conduct a livestream session to showcase the unit and allow you to ask questions along the way such as specific improvements or renovations that have been done previously to the unit. Livestream or video calls are also more convenient since you can see the unit’s actual condition without any video manipulations done. It will allow you to check if there are cracks in the walls or chipped floorings even if you are not physically present during the house tour. 

Tip #2: Look for an agent who is trustworthy and knowledgeable

During this period when safe distancing is a must, you need to work with a property agent you can trust. You need to build a good working relationship with your agent, so he or she can lead you to the right property that suits your specifications during virtual viewing.

In the time of this circuit breaker, property agents must always keep their communication lines open, especially since face-to-face interactions are on hold.

Tip #3: Make sure that the transaction complies with the circuit breaker guidelines

Even after the Singaporean government eases the rules of the circuit breaker in the country, you still need to practice safety measures while transacting with property agents during these times. You must also follow the rules before you decide to move into your chosen unit. 

Law firms will still be open for conveyancing (meaning to act to close the transaction) and to facilitate “wet ink” signature. The same goes for HDB transactions, sellers and buyers that have transacted before the circuit breaker will still be allowed to complete the transaction at HDB hub as HDB do require “wet ink” signature to complete the transaction but the agent will not be allowed to accompany their clients during the completion process. 

Other delivery methods that used to be done face to face will now be done through couriers. The payment of deposit can still be done but via cheque deposit or bank transfer as banks are essential services that remain operational during this time. 

Movers that have obtained Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) approval will still be able to help you move. They will have to adhere to stricter sector-specific guidelines released by the respective agencies. Also, fear not because emergency household services such as plumbers, locksmiths and electricians are considered essential services are still operational during the circuit breaker period and also the various phases of the gradual reopening of businesses in Singapore.

Have a breezy process as you look for your new home

Finding a new property can be tricky during this time when circuit breakers are necessary to avoid the spread of the deadly virus. But if you know how to use virtual viewing to your advantage, you will be able to find a new residential unit that could serve as your home for a long time. Remember to enjoy the process, and let your agent take on the stress and help you find the place that could fit your needs.

Contact Us

Whatsapp message or call KC from Home Quarters for a complimentary virtual viewing and begin finding your new home today: +65 8809 2889! Or drop us an email, commenting on our YouTube or contacting us through our Facebook and Instagram pages! He is extremely knowledgeable about everything to help you find your new home today. Watch KC, your friendly neighbourhood agent here in action:

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!