Singapore private home prices up 0.5% in Q4, 2.7% for 2019 as take-up drops 13.5% for year

For the fourth quarter, private home prices rose 0.5 per cent over the previous three months.
Dated: 23-Jan-2020
SINGAPORE - Even as private home prices in Singapore rose 2.7 per cent for the whole of 2019, beating flash estimates of a 2.5 per cent gain, the total number of private residential units sold fell 13.5 per cent to 19, 150, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Thursday morning (Jan 23).

This came on the back of a 31 per cent plunge in resale transactions in 2019 due to competition from new launches. Resale transactions, which accounted for 48 per cent of all sales in the fourth quarter, fell to 2, 342 compared with 2, 378 in the previous quarter. For the whole of 2019, there were 8, 949 resale transactions compared to 13, 009 in 2018.

New home sales by developers last year rose 12.7 per cent to 9, 912 units, excluding executive condominiums (ECs). Sub-sales, a small category of the market, dipped to 289 units from 335 units the previous year.

For the fourth quarter, private home prices rose 0.5 per cent over the previous three months, slowing from the 1.3 per cent rise in the third quarter. This beat flash estimates of a 0.3 per cent rise, and was the third consecutive quarter that prices gained.

For 2019, prices were 2.7 per cent higher, dropping from the 7.9 per cent rise seen in 2018, after property cooling measures took effect.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, noted that while demand for new homes remained strong in 2019, sales were more subdued for the private resale market due to stiffer competition from new projects launched in the past few months.

Christine Li, Cushman & Wakefield's head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia, called 2019 a"relatively good year"for the private residential market as the increase in new sales transactions and overall price growth helped mitigate slower take-up in overall volumes.

She attributed the drop in resale volumes to en bloc fever dying out after the last round of cooling measures."Short-term speculative activities still remained suppressed, going by low sub-sale volumes at only 289 units for the whole of 2019, "she said.

For this year, analysts are expecting private home prices to rise by between 1 and 5 per cent, given ample supply and in line with modest economic growth and affordability.

Said Ms Li:"In 2020, we expect the market trends to be similar to 2020, given that market fundamentals remain unchanged: interest rates are expected to remain low, while the economy is expected to improve slightly in 2020.

"Developers are still expected to price their launches sensitively, given the competition for buyers and the overhang of cooling measures. Though developers are not that threatened by ABSD (additional buyer's stamp duty ) currently, there are some concerns of sales momentum in 2020 given that the dwindling stock of smaller units while the larger units remain unsold.

For the final quarter of 2019, prices of landed homes increased by 3.6 per cent, compared with 1 per cent increase in the previous quarter, URA data showed. Prices of non-landed properties fell by 0.3 per cent compared with a 1.3 per cent increase in the previous quarter.

For the whole of 2019, prices of landed homes rose 5.7 per cent while those of non-landed properties went up by 1.9 per cent.

Developers launched 2, 226 uncompleted private residential units (excluding ECs) for sale in the fourth quarter, compared with 3, 628 units in the previous quarter. For the whole of 2019, 11, 345 units were launched, up from 8, 769 units in the previous year.

Developers sold 2, 443 units (excluding ECs) in the fourth quarter, compared with the 3, 281 in the previous quarter. For the whole of 2019, they moved 9, 912 units, compared with the 8, 795 units in the previous year.

Developers did not launch any EC units for sale in the fourth quarter, but 59 EC units were sold in the quarter.

In comparison, developers launched 820 EC units and sold 426 EC units in the previous quarter.

For the whole of 2019, developers launched 820 EC units and sold 505 EC units, compared with the 628 units launched and 1, 136 units sold in 2018.

Private property rents fell 1 per cent in the fourth quarter, compared with a 0.1 per cent rise in the previous quarter. For the whole of 2019, rents rose 1.4 per cent compared with a 0.6 per cent gain in 2018.

As at the end of the fourth quarter, there was a total supply of 49, 173 uncompleted private residential units excluding ECs, in the pipeline with planning approvals, compared with the 50, 964 units in the previous quarter. Of this number, 30, 162 units remained unsold as at the end of the fourth quarter, compared with the 31, 948 units in the previous quarter.

After adding the supply of 3, 192 EC units in the pipeline, there were 52, 365 units in the pipeline with planning approvals. Of the EC units in the pipeline, 2, 110 units remained unsold. In total, 32, 272 units with planning approvals including ECs remained unsold, down from 34, 089 units in the previous quarter and 35, 649 units a year ago.

The vacancy rate of completed private residential units excluding ECs fell to 5.5 per cent as at the end of the fourth quarter, from 6.1 per cent in the previous quarter.

Source: Straits Times