Overall prices down 0.6% for completed apartments in Nov

Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong tipped non-central units as the segment to watch next year due to a substantial number of completions. "Stretched investors could suffer from increased interest rates and may be forced to sell," he said.
Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong tipped non-central units as the segment to watch next year due to a substantial number of completions. "Stretched investors could suffer from increased interest rates and may be forced to sell," he said.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Small units again led the way as overall prices for completed apartments fell 0.6 per cent in November over October.

Values for these units - which are up to 506 sq ft in size - fell 1.2 per cent across the country.

That dragged down overall prices, according to the National University of Singapore's Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI). The index also tracks prices of central and non-central homes, but factors out small units in its calculations.

Both these segments saw declines from October to November, with values of central units down 0.8 per cent and those for non-central units dipping 0.4 per cent.

Apartments in the central region - covering Districts 1 to 4 and 9 to 11 - took the heaviest beating over the 12 months, according to the SRPI flash estimates out yesterday.

Prices of central units fell 4.5 per cent from November last year, compared with a decline of 3.2 per cent for non-central units and a 3.7 per cent drop for small units.

Values of central units are 13.1 per cent down from May 2013, according to the SRPI, which tracks the prices of completed private non-landed homes.

The central region is suffering because many older, completed units there tend to be larger as they target better-off buyers, said Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.

"But with the Total Debt Servicing Ratio and Additional Buyers' Stamp Duty (ABSD) for overseas buyers at 15 per cent, the main source of demand for central region units has been shut off," he added.

Some of the owners selling central units are high-net-worth foreigners annoyed with ABSD, which they view as discriminatory, he noted. They are prepared to offload their units at low prices and are moving on from the Singapore market. Other sellers may have been caught in a slowing economy and need to raise cash, he added.

"The high-end market is not so much a salaried worker's market. If unemployment is low, (non-central) region prices tend to hold up."

Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong tipped non-central units as the segment to watch next year due to a substantial number of completions. "Stretched investors could suffer from increased interest rates and may be forced to sell."

Rennie Whang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2015, with the headline 'Overall prices down 0.6% for completed apartments in Nov'. Print Edition | Subscribe