SINGAPORE (Mar 21): A rising tide is said to lift all boats. But amid a wave of en bloc deals on the back of improving sentiment in the Singapore property sector, SAC Advisors believes some developers could cruise to greater heights than others.

“The rush to secure sites was driven by the overall positive sentiment of the property market, which has propped up demand and prices,” says analyst Eing Kar Mei in a Wednesday report. “We believe the developers such as Oxley Holdings, Lian Beng [Group], [and] UOL Group, which have managed to acquire sites ahead of the market, will reap the most benefit.”

After more than four years of inaction, developers are now rushing to replenish their landbanks to grab a slice of the booming property market.

The total value of en bloc transactions in 2017 ballooned to $8.4 billion across 32 deals in 2017.

And the en bloc fever is showing no sign of subsiding. Year-to-date, en bloc transactions have already soared to a total of $3.6 billion.

“Based on the current run-rate, we believe en bloc sales would achieve the previous peak (of $12 billion) in 2007 and last until 2019, although momentum should slow down as developers replenish their landbank,” says Eing.

“The heightened activity of en bloc sales signals the beginning of the property cycle as en bloc sales usually acts as a leading indicator of property prices,” she adds.

At the same time, a limited supply of land made available under the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme has also stirred up prices.

With an increase seen in the average number of bidders for government land, average tender prices in terms of per square metre of gross floor area has also risen by more than 25% in the past two years, according to Eing.

“With more launches and expectations of property prices improving further, we believe property players’ earnings will continue to grow,” Eing says.

As at 1.08pm, shares of Oxley Holdings are trading flat at 52 cents; shares of Lian Beng Group are trading half a cent up at 67 cents; and shares of UOL Group are trading 5 cents up at $8.70.