Resale condo prices, volume up again in April

THE latest April data from SRX Property showed that prices and transaction volume of resale private apartments and condos have risen for two consecutive months.

Based on flash estimates for April by SRX Property released on Tuesday, prices in the Central Region increased last month, on a month-on-month as well as year-on-year basis. On the other hand, prices in the suburbs fell over both periods.

SRX Property's overall resale price index for non-landed private homes in Singapore rose 0.5 per cent in April 2016 over the previous month, based on its flash estimates for last month released on Tuesday.

This follows a 0.1 per cent month-on-month gain for March 2016 - a revision from the 0.3 per cent increase that SRX Property had indicated earlier based on its flash estimates for March. Year on year, the April 2016 index value was down 0.5 per cent.

The latest index is also down 7.1 per cent from its recent peak in January 2014.

Giving a geographical breakdown of the month-on-month performance of the index in April, SRX Property said that prices rose 0.7 per cent in the Core Central Region (CCR) and 1.3 per cent in the city-fringe or Rest of Central Region (RCR), but slipped 0.2 per cent in the suburbs or Outside Central Region (OCR).

The CCR and RCR posted year-on-year price gains of 3.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively, while prices in OCR eased 2.9 per cent over the same period.

Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong noted that since the start of this year, the firm's agents on the ground have noticed an increase in interest in the CCR.

"Notwithstanding reports that focused on the left tail of the price curve, they reported that transacted prices on average have been firm."

ERA Realty Network's key executive officer, Eugene Lim, noted that the price weakness in the suburbs was due partly to the large volume of supply in OCR. "Sellers not only have to compete with other sellers, but with developers that have unsold inventory."

Moreover, many investors had dabbled in small units in the suburbs during the 2011-2013 property boom and could be looking to offload their units due to the weak rental market, he added.

Tuesday's data release by SRX Property followed official government numbers for the first quarter that painted a similar trend, of greater price resilience in the Central Region compared with the suburbs.

Urban Redevelopment Authority's price indices for non-landed private homes (encompassing both primary and secondary market deals) in CCR rose 0.3 per cent in Q1 this year over the preceding quarter. In the RCR, URA's index was flat in Q1. However in OCR, the index slipped 1.3 per cent.

SRX Property estimated that 689 non-landed private homes were resold last month - up 17.6 per cent from the 586 units resold in March 2016. The latest figure is a three-year record since the last high of 726 units in May 2013.

Year on year, the resale volume in April 2016 was 28.1 per cent higher than the 538 units transacted in the same month last year. That said, last month's resale volume was 66.4 per cent lower than the peak of 2,050 units resold in April 2010.

Mr Cheong said that the improvement in transaction volumes suggests that there is still a ready pool of buyers in the resale market. ERA's Mr Lim highlighted that one of the attractions of picking up private apartments or condo units from the resale market is that units are typically larger, but with similar price quantums to new units.

"So buyers may feel that they are getting better value for money in terms of living space."

SRX Property said that the overall median transaction over X-Value (TOX) improved to negative S$9,000 in April 2016 from negative S$10,000 in March 2016.

The median TOX measures how much people are overpaying or underpaying against the computer-generated estimated market value or the so-called X-Value.

This article was first published on May 11, 2016.
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