Private home prices have slipped for the 13th straight quarter.
Estimates out yesterday showed that overall prices fell by 0.4 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter last year - a sign that the bottom of the market may be in sight.
That was a far cry from the stark drop of 1.5 per cent from the second to the third quarter, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) noted.
Home values have fallen by 11.2 per cent since the third quarter of 2013 amid a raft of property cooling measures that hit demand for homes.
"The latest flash estimates have possibly indicated that the trough is approaching," noted Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research for Singapore and South-east Asia.
Private home prices tumbled 3 per cent over last year - the lowest decline in three years, following a drop of 3.7 per cent in 2015 and 4 per cent in 2014.
The downward trend is likely to continue this year owing to cloudy growth outlook and concerns over potential interest rate hikes.
"Given the weak rental market and uncertain economic climate, prices may continue to decline," noted Mr Wong Xian Yang, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee.
"That said, I expect the decline in prices to decelerate in 2017, on the back of increasing (sales) volumes."
SLP International Property Consultants research head Nicholas Mak added: "Caution is going to be the watchword... I don't think home buyers or investors are going to splurge in a big way or chase prices."
Market watchers project prices could fall by 2 to 3 per cent this year and expect prospective buyers to remain selective and price sensitive.
The URA estimates showed that prices of non-landed homes fell by 0.7 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter, after posting a 1.2 per cent fall from the second to the third quarter.
Fourth quarter's price decline was led by units in the city fringe, where prices fell by 2 per cent.
That was followed by a 0.3 per cent decline in the suburbs, while home prices in the core central region remained unchanged from the third to the fourth quarter, after falling 1.9 per cent from the second to the third quarter.
"I think home prices in the core central region have stabilised and could have bottomed," Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong told The Straits Times. "This year, prices in the core central region should find more support."
Landed properties bucked the trend, recording a price gain of 0.9 per cent from the third to fourth quarter, against the 2.7 per cent drop from the second to the third quarter.
In the public housing sector, resale flat prices were estimated to have fallen by 0.1 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter, and also at the same rate of decline for the whole of 2016, the Housing and Development Board said yesterday.
It added that 17,000 new HDB flats will be launched for sale this year with the first Build-To-Order exercise in February.
This article was first published on Jan 4, 2017.
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