Prices for public and private housing fall in first quarter

Prices for public and private housing fall in first quarter
High-rise private apartment condominiums in the Scotts Road and Cairnhill area.

Public and private home prices across Singapore kept falling in the first quarter of this year, with further declines expected.

Sales have thinned in both markets as well, market watchers say, though the biggest drop has been among private homes.

The market is now so moribund it could start hurting jobs in the real estate industry, they said.

Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong noted overall private market transactions nearly halved last year. In the first quarter of this year, new sales slid 42.3 per cent year on year, and secondary market sales fell 8.2 per cent.

"Given transaction volumes have declined significantly since June 2013, the multiplier effects on those directly and indirectly employed in the residential property market (is a concern)," he said.

Prices of Housing Board resale flats fell 1 per cent quarter on quarter, slightly up from a 1.5 per cent dip in the fourth quarter, HDB flash estimates showed yesterday. It was the seventh straight quarter of decline for the segment, which has fallen about 9.2 per cent from its peak in the second quarter of 2013.

Prices of private homes fell 1.1 per cent from the fourth quarter according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) flash estimates, roughly in line with the average drop of 1.03 per cent for each quarter last year.

The estimate of the private residential property price index was done using an improved method. The HDB had revised the computation for its resale price index from the fourth quarter of last year.

It was the sixth straight quarter of decline for private homes, for which prices have fallen about 6 per cent from their peak in the third quarter of 2013.

The slide in HDB resale prices has been more pronounced as cooling measures have been more effective in curbing demand, and developers are holding prices in the new sales market, said Mr Cheong.

A boost in Build-to-Order (BTO) flat supply has weighed on the HDB market as well. More than 90,000 BTO flats were launched between 2011 and last year. A further 16,900 BTO flats will be offered this year.

HDB said yesterday it will be offering 4,040 BTO flats in Clementi, Punggol North, Sembawang and Tampines next month with another 5,000 flats on offer in a sale of balance flats at the same time.

In all, 3,681 resale HDB flats were sold in the first quarter, down 20.5 per cent quarter on quarter and 2.6 per cent year on year, noted PropNex research. But transactions may increase with the draw of falling prices.

In the private market, prices in the central region fell an estimated 0.6 per cent quarter on quarter. While it was the lowest quarterly drop in six quarters, it cannot be read as a sign the sub-market is bottoming out given the low sales volume, said SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak. Sales in the sub-market fell 60 per cent quarter on quarter.

Private home prices on the city fringe fell 1.8 per cent, after a 1.6 per cent dip the previous quarter.

"Of the three market segments, the (city fringe) has registered the largest fall of 7.5 per cent in its index from its peak in the second quarter of 2013, more than the declines of 7.2 per cent for the central region and 4 per cent for (the suburbs)," said JLL national research director Ong Teck Hui.

Private home prices in the suburbs fell 1 per cent for the quarter, up from a 0.1 per cent drop the previous quarter.

wrennie@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on April 2, 2015.
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