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10 craziest property flipping transactions within a week (one made $637k in a day)

10 craziest property flipping transactions within a week (one made $637k in a day)
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Here's one way to feel old: It has been a long 14 years since the Sellers Stamp Duty (SSD) was first implemented (which has no doubt impacted the Singapore property market significantly). For an entire generation of younger homebuyers, you might not even know that there was a time when you could buy a house one day and sell it the next — hence the term "flipping."

Nonetheless, there are cases whereby circumstance or really bold deliberation — people have bought and sold units within a single week. Here are some of the most extreme cases of flipping that we've found:

Biggest gains from a one-week flip

Project Price Size PSF Purchase Date Tenure District Profit per cent Sale Type Sell Date Sell Price Days
THE LEGACY $2,603,920 2,604 $1,000 20/7/07 Freehold 10 $781,080 30per cent Resale to Resale 26/7/07 $3,385,000 6
CARIBBEAN AT KEPPEL BAY $4,603,300 3,541 $1,300 17/5/07 99 yrs from 16/08/1999 4 $637,380 14per cent Resale to Resale 18/5/07 $5,240,680 1
THE CLIFT $1,023,000 775 $1,320 23/6/08 99 yrs from 28/04/2004 1 $632,000 62per cent Sub Sale to Sub Sale 26/6/08 $1,655,000 3
SCOTTS 28 $2,669,000 2,034 $1,312 9/11/95 Freehold 9 $565,060 21per cent New Sale to Sub Sale 13/11/95 $3,234,060 4
N.A. $970,000 1,097 $883 7/1/05 Freehold 12 $530,000 55per cent Resale to Resale 12/1/05 $1,500,000 5
THE SAIL @ MARINA BAY $1,808,000 1,259 $1,436 22/1/10 99 yrs from 12/08/2002 1 $521,150 29per cent Resale to Resale 25/1/10 $2,329,150 3
EMERALD GARDEN $1,191,000 1,216 $979 1/5/96 999 yrs from 01/10/1827 1 $462,690 39per cent New Sale to Sub Sale 3/5/96 $1,653,690 2
MARTIN PLACE RESIDENCES $2,202,000 1,420 $1,550 4/6/09 Freehold 9 $434,200 20per cent New Sale to Sub Sale 11/6/09 $2,636,200 7
ICON $949,200 904 $1,050 12/1/07 99 yrs from 29/01/2002 2 $406,800 43per cent Sub Sale to Sub Sale 16/1/07 $1,356,000 4

Some observations from the above

Sub sale to sub sale transactions isn't something that you'd see today (or likely forever so, given the SSD). So yes, seeing such figures today being bought and sold in less than a week really boggles the mind.

An overwhelming majority of these sales also occurred in the central region. Some realtors opined it has simply to do with buyer demographics: Core Central Region (CCR) properties tend to involve more investors and high net-worth buyers. This demographic just has a higher risk tolerance. 

Conversely, homes in the RCR and OCR are more likely to involve owner-occupiers, who are dealing with their one and only home. They also need to worry about accommodation and a replacement unit if they sell. As such, they tend to be less inclined toward this sort of behaviour.

That said, many of the flips above were probably unplanned

Given the short span of a single week, most of the transactions above were probably to do with the buyer or seller's unique situations. 

The high gains likely come from affluent buyers who are very insistent on securing a specific unit. As they are focused on pure home ownership, they don't particularly care about yields or gains, and may be willing to drastically overpay for a unit; and more besides. 

(We see this same behaviour in the public housing market, where home buyers flush with cash from selling a private property may pay way above valuation for flats, especially if they never see themselves reselling said flats).

Some of the notable ones include transactions at developments like Scotts 28, The Sail @ Marina Bay, and Icon. Unsurprisingly, these are also the ones where we see a great swing in outcomes — some owners have made seven digits in profits, while others have made seven digits in losses.

In any case, this sort of exuberance was most keenly seen in 2007, when the top two transactions saw a profit of $781,000 and $637,000 in less than a week. It's hard to explain this sort of irrational behaviour, but if anything it would probably come down to the desirability of the place.

For example, the case of the unit at Caribbean at Keppel Bay — its likely this was because at that time this was the newest waterfront development in that area. Still, to make over $600,000 in profit in just one day is just a pipe dream for many now!

Can you still "flip" a property today?

The conventional way to do this is to buy very early in the sales phase, such as during the VVIP or VIP preview. Developers may lower prices here, using a loss-leader strategy. 

If you buy at a 20 per cent discount at launch, and the price normalises in later sales phases, you could recognise a 20 per cent gain quickly if you make a sub sale, or even relatively soon after completion. Even so, it's highly improbable that it will happen in a week; most such "flips" occur in the fourth year, after the SSD period is over. 

Also, bear in mind there's no guarantee developers won't drop the price later and spoil the strategy; they're apt to do so if sales don't move at their desired pace. It's really best to do this only if:

(1) you're okay with holding on to the unit if the flip doesn't happen or wouldn't be profitable, which means you should pick somewhere you're happy to rent out or stay, and,

(2) Market conditions are right for it, with a lot of exuberance. If you do this too close to a cooling measure, for example, the prospective pool of buyers will shrink considerably. 

ALSO READ: Just $100k for an HDB flat in 2024? 4 odd property transactions in Singapore

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.

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