Non-landed private home prices up 0.1%

Prices of completed non-landed private homes in Singapore inched up 0.1 per cent last month from August, new data shows.

However, experts say the uptick was probably a blip rather than any sign of a market turnaround.

The figures are flash estimates compiled by the National University of Singapore for its Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) released yesterday.

The slight price rise follows a 0.7 per cent month-on-month fall in August, based on the revised index value for that month. The fall in August was due in part to slower buying interest in the seventh lunar month where buyers typically refrain from buying a property.

While resale property prices showed signs of stabilising in September, they are "nowhere near a confirmed recovery", R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said.

He attributed September's uptick in prices to buyers concluding their "pent-up" purchases in the second half of the month after it became clear following the elections that cooling measures are unlikely to be removed any time soon.

"As such, September's increase is a blip, rather than the beginning of a price rebound," he said.

Mr Eugene Lim, ERA's key executive officer, cited price increases in non-central residential units, which gained 0.3 per cent; as well as those of small units, which rose 0.4 per cent.

"As there were no major new projects launched in the non-central areas in September, home buyers could have turned to the resale market for their purchases, thereby pushing up prices marginally."

But with the looming number of completions, coupled with the cooling measures still in place, the downward pressure on property prices is expected to continue into next year, Mr Lim said.

Mr Ong noted that prices of completed properties in the non-central region are expected to continue trending downward, or even stagnate, due to an increase in the number of suburban condominiums being completed, and growing competition in leasing.

Islandwide, prices of small apartments and condo units (up to 506 sq ft) rose 0.4 per cent, after dipping 0.1 per cent in August.

Prices of units outside the prime central area (excluding shoebox units) rose 0.3 per cent last month, after falling 0.8 per cent in August.

The central region is defined as districts 1 to 4 (including the financial district and Sentosa Cove) and the traditional prime districts 9, 10 and 11 by the university's Institute of Real Estate Studies, which created the SRPI series tracking prices of completed private apartments and condos.

Prices for the central region fell 0.4 per cent last month, after a 0.3 per cent decline in August.

There were more high-end properties sent for auctions, or had to be foreclosed on. Investors are also finding difficulty renting those properties out as leasing demand has shifted to surburban condos and city-fringe homes, Mr Ong said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2015, with the headline 'Non-landed private home prices up 0.1%'. Print Edition | Subscribe