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RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Private home prices slipped 1% in Q1: URA

Both landed and non-landed properties saw declines.

Private home prices dipped 1% QoQ in Q1, reversing the 0.5% rise seen in Q4 2019, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority. On a YoY basis, prices edged up 2.4% from Q1 2019.

“Whilst prices slipped last quarter at the onset of the pandemic, the magnitude of decline was not as severe as what was observed during the early stages of past crises. For instance, around the initial phase of the Asian Financial Crisis, the first quarterly decline of 1.9% was recorded in Q3 1996, whilst prices dipped 2.4% in Q3 2008 at the start of the Global Financial Crisis,” said Christine Sun, head of research & consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie.

Prices of landed properties went down 0.9% QoQ in Q1, compared with the 3.6% increase in the previous quarter. Prices of non-landed properties also slipped 1% in Q1 2020. Breaking down by regions, non-landed property prices in the Core Central Region (CCR) slid by 2.2% in Q1. Prices in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) dipped by 0.5% over the same period, whilst those in the Outside Central Region (OCR) decreased by 0.4%.

“The steeper price fall in CCR could be attributed to a higher proportion of luxury homes transacted below $2m, which rose from 40.4% in Q4 2019 to 58.4% in Q1,” Sun added.

On the rental side, private home rents inched up 1.1% QoQ in Q1, rebounding from the 1% decrease in the previous quarter. Non-landed property rents rose by 1.3% QoQ, countering the 0.9% decline posted by landed properties.

Rentals of non-landed properties in CCR edged up 1.4% QoQ, whilst RCR rentals increased by 0.6% QoQ. Rentals in OCR recorded a 1.9% QoQ growth in rentals.

“Rental renewals rose last quarter as many foreign workers required immediate lodging prior to the circuit breaker measures and lockdowns imposed by Malaysia. Many tenants were also reluctant to scout around for alternate housing to minimise the possibility of catching the virus,” Sun said.

In Q1, developers launched 2,093 uncompleted private residential units (excluding executive condos or ECs) for sale, compared with 2,226 units in Q4 2019. There were 2,149 private home units sold from 2,443 in the previous quarter. As for ECs, developers launched 1,044 units and sold 590 units.

“Potential buyers from foreign countries could not enter Singapore while show flats were closed and house viewings were postponed. Therefore, it is of no surprise that overall sales volume declined 12.5% QoQ,” Sun noted.

Furthermore, resale deals hit 2,080 from 2,342 units transacted in Q4 2019. Resale transactions accounted for 48.7% of all sale transactions in Q1.

There were 40 sub-sale transactions in Q1, less than half of the 93 units transacted in the previous quarter. Sub-sales accounted for 0.9% of all sale transactions.

“Sellers of resale homes faced stiff competition for potential buyers from the new home supply and aggressive marketing campaigns launched by new developments. The situation is now exacerbated during the circuit breaker period as no house viewings are currently allowed,” Sun stated.

As at the end Q1, there was a total supply of 48,868 uncompleted private residential units (excluding ECs) in the pipeline with planning approvals. Of this number, 29,149 units remained unsold.

Based on the expected completion dates reported by developers, 5,134 units (including ECs) will be completed in the remaining three quarters of 2020. Another 10,816 units (including ECs) will be completed in 2021.

Apart from the 31,099 unsold units (including ECs) with planning approval as at the end of Q1, URA added that there is a potential supply of around 4,100 units (including ECs) from Government Land Sales (GLS) sites that have not been granted planning approval yet.

The stock of completed private homes (excluding ECs) increased by 1,364 units in Q1. The stock of occupied private homes inched up by 1,521 units as well. As a result, the vacancy rate of completed private homes (excluding ECs) dipped to 5.4% in the same quarter, from 5.5% in Q4 2019.

By regions, vacancy rates in CCR, RCR and OCR were 7.4%, 6.2% and 4.1%, respectively. 

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