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Melissa Tan
Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014

Singapore

Private home resale prices, rents hit new lows

The Straits Times | Melissa Tan | Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014

High-rise private apartment condominiums.

RESALE prices and rents for private homes both tumbled to fresh lows last month as the property market slowdown deepened.

The declines underscore a downward trend that has been evident in the residential market since tougher cooling measures and home loan restrictions were rolled out last year, and consultants believe the gloom is unlikely to lift any time soon.

July's declines have left resale prices at their lowest level in 21 months, according to Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) flash estimates yesterday, while rents fell to a 38-month low amid greater competition for tenants. Resale prices for private condominiums and apartments sank 1.3 per cent from June to reach their lowest point since October 2012.

This was after they had dropped 1.6 per cent from May to June. Housing Board flat owners are feeling similar pain, with resale prices dropping to a 30-month trough last month. Recent new launches of private condominiums have also suffered lacklustre sales, while prices of uncompleted private condominiums and apartments have slid about 1.1 per cent since the start of this year.

"With all the measures in place, the low sentiments are expected to last," said ERA key executive officer Eugene Lim.

"The current private resale market faces a situation of high competition. Landlords are also getting more realistic as it is now a tenant's market."

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said the continued price slide into July suggests that "it was not merely the World Cup and school holidays in June that dented home buyers' interest". "There are larger factors at play," he added.

There were 431 private homes resold in July, largely unchanged from the 427 units resold in June.

This figure was 20.5 per cent lower than for the same period last year.

Private home resale values have dropped about 6.5 per cent since the start of this year, going by SRX data.

Mr Ong expects them to fall further and decline by about 8 per cent in total over the course of this year.

The islandwide slide in resale prices last month was led by the city centre, where values tumbled 4 per cent from the previous month. The city fringe saw a 1.1 per cent decline and resale prices in the suburbs slipped 0.6 per cent in the period.

Consultants said the soft leasing market is a major reason why private home resales are so weak.

Rents of private condos and apartments fell 0.8 per cent from June to July to their lowest point since May 2011, the SRX said.

Ms Karen Ng, an executive in her early 30s who has been trying to rent out a three-bedder in Alexandra for several weeks, said that applicants remain few even though she has already lowered her asking rent by $500 or so.

"It's very competitive," she said.

Consultants said rents are likely to keep falling as more homes are completed, boosting supply, while the pool of tenants shrinks because of reduced foreign worker inflows.

melissat@sph.com.sg


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