November blues for private condo resales

November blues for private condo resales
A man looking at a condominium at Paisir Ris Drive 1.

Resales of private condominium units slumped last month, dragging down prices in the process.

Only 388 homes changed hands in November, down 22.4 per cent from October, according to flash estimates from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) yesterday.

While this was a better showing than the 364 condo units resold in the same month a year earlier, it still did not prevent prices slipping by 1.1 per cent in November from October.

Analysts were not surprised, noting that tougher lending rules had shrunk the pool of buyers.

There is also a continuing impasse between buyers and sellers, they added, with home seekers increasingly "cautious" amid expectations of further price falls.

"There continues to be a mismatch of price expectations between sellers and buyers.

"Sellers are under no pressure to cut prices while buyers tend to be conservative in the current market environment," said Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty.

Government measures, including stricter lending regulations and additional taxes on foreign buyers and investors, have been instrumental in prices falling 3.9 per cent over four straight quarters - the longest period of declines since 2009.

But buyers are also jittery, given the huge number of new homes that have flooded the market. They fear the higher supply will intensify leasing and resale competition, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's third-quarter statistics show 20,852 private condos and executive condos will be completed this year, significantly higher than the 13,150 units completed in 2013.

November's price dip was a reversal of the revised 0.4 per cent increase in October over September. But Mr Ong pointed out that fluctuations in price indexes on a monthly basis can be "random".

SRX chief executive Sam Baker acknowledged that the impact of individual transactions on the index is more pronounced in a market with just a handful of sales.

Instead, an analysis of the data "at the street level" shows that the cooling measures have not had the same effect on buyers and sellers across the board.

The SRX, which compiles its index from data from real estate agencies, noted that 50 per cent of November's buyers purchased their resale units at above the estimated market value of the property, which the firm labels as the "X-Value".

This took place mainly in district nine, which comprises the Cairnhill, Killiney, Leonie Hill, Orchard and Oxley areas, where the median value of transactions above the X-Value was $80,000.

Homes in Boon Lay, Jurong and Tuas - or district 22 - were next, transacting at $30,000 above the X-Value, followed by homes in Chancery, Bukit Timah, Dunearn Road and Newton - district 11 - at $15,000.

However, there were buyers who paid as much as $40,000 below the property's market value in district 5, which spans Buona Vista, Dover, Pasir Panjang and West Coast.

The SRX index has fallen 6.3 per cent since January but the decline for the full year is not expected to exceed 8 per cent, said Mr Lim.

ocheryl@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 10, 2014.
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