PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MARKET
Private home prices rose by 0.7% for the eighth consecutive quarter to hit a historical high, albeit at a slower pace as December's property cooling measures took effect amid rising interest rates and the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Overall, private home prices have surged 14.9% since they hit bottom at the start of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020.
Prices and sales may pick up in the second quarter with new launches such as the 407-unit Piccadilly Grand, 298-unit LIV@MB and 268-unit Sceneca Residence, and with the reopening of Singapore’s borders.
In the near term, the private home market could also benefit from safe-haven investment flows amid heightened geopolitical uncertainty.
Sales of new private homes, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), dropped nearly 40% in the first quarter to 1,825 units, from 3,018 units in the fourth quarter, as foreign buyers and investors held off after the new property curbs.
Meanwhile, many investors are grappling with higher additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) rates imposed on buyers holding multiple properties and rising interest rates that may erode their rental income.
Landed home prices grew 4.2 per cent in the first quarter, up from 3.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, supported by limited stock and sustained activity in the good class bungalow market.
In contrast, the overall non-landed property market fell 0.3% compared with a 5.3% jump in the fourth quarter.
The drop was led by the city fringe sub-market, which fell 2.7% in the first quarter, reversing a 6.7% gain in the fourth quarter.
This was likely due to a normalisation in prices following the strong sales of CanningHill Piers in the fourth quarter last year.
Analysts noted that cost pressures may play a more significant role in the coming months. Escalating energy, steel, raw material and shipping costs arising from the Russia-Ukraine war and political sanctions may drive construction costs higher.
Public housing resale transactions dropped 12.7% q-o-q in 1Q2022, and 8.5% y-o-y to 6,934 units, according to HDB. Prices grew 2.4% q-o-q, reflecting a more moderate pace of growth compared to last quarter’s increase of 3.4% q-o-q.
The December cooling measures, global market uncertainties and delays in completion of residential projects have contributed to fewer homes being put on the market for sale.
Given the tight supply, HDB resale prices are now at its peak in 1Q2022; and are 9.4% higher than the previous peak in 2Q2013.
Despite the high prices, demand for resale flats is expected to remain relatively firm through the year, supported by first-time homebuyers, upgraders and would-be home buyers from the Build-to-Order (BTO) pool, who are deterred by further delays in completion of BTO projects and opt for move-in ready resale units instead.
The tight supply could be partially alleviated by an estimated 30,196 units that will reach the end of their Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) in 2022.
Another factor that could influence the HDB resale market this year is the government’s plan to push out 23,000 HDB BTO flats this year, and another 23,000 next year if necessary. The higher supply of BTO flats could help to cool down the robust HDB resale market.
Analysts noted however, that the buoyant residential leasing market could also encourage some of these flat owners to rent out their HDB flats instead of selling them, This will in turn, reduce the supply of resale flats for sale, and put further upward pressure on prices. Rental demand is expected to increase with the return of foreign workers.
Inflation and rising costs could have “a snowball effect” on rents, as landlords pass on higher costs to tenants. Therefore, rents are projected to climb by 7% to 10% in 2022, while leasing volume may increase to between 46,000 and 48,000 units.
Analysts are expecting HDB resale price index to expand 6% to 10% for the whole of this year.
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