Private home prices fall at faster pace in Q3

In the city fringe, there could be a slower price decline in the fourth quarter with the launches of Principal Garden (above) and Thomson Impressions, says Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.
In the city fringe, there could be a slower price decline in the fourth quarter with the launches of Principal Garden (above) and Thomson Impressions, says Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.PHOTO: UOL GROUP

Older stock and resale properties form bulk of transactions, with just one large launch

Private home prices slid at a faster pace in the third quarter and are now on a par with prices in the first quarter of 2011.

This was not surprising in a quarter with just one large launch, High Park Residences, which was priced to sell. With older stock and resale properties forming the bulk of transactions, prices naturally weakened faster, experts said.

Prices fell 1.3 per cent in July to September, after falling 0.9 per cent in April to June, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data released yesterday.

It was similar to the fall estimated previously, when URA released its flash estimates earlier this month.

Prices have now fallen for eight straight quarters, with the latest fall the fastest pace of decline since they started weakening from the peak in the third quarter of 2013.

Prices are down about 8 per cent from then, probably not quite at a stage where the authorities will tweak cooling measures, experts said. "The authorities seem to be targeting a double-digit price correction," said Mr Eugene Lim, ERA Realty key executive officer.

  • PRIVATE HOME PRICES FELL

    1.3%

    In July to September

    0.9%

    In April to June

    8%

    From their last peak in the third quarter of 2013

Non-landed private home prices fell more steeply across all regions. They fell 1.2 per cent in the core central region, and 1.6 per cent in both the city fringes and the suburbs. They are now down about 8.6 per cent, 9.4 per cent and 6.7 per cent from their respective peaks in 2013.

The fall in suburban condominium prices in the quarter was the steepest since they began falling in the fourth quarter of 2013.

This could have been due to High Park Residences, launched in July. As at the end of last month, it had sold 1,245 units with median prices below $1,000 per sq ft.

Suburban prices could slide more drastically in the coming months, said ERA's Mr Lim. "A suburban property buyer has many choices, including from new launches, which are largely in the suburbs, and executive condominiums, with the recent rise in the income ceiling.

"Developers of projects launched some time ago are looking to clear stock, such as through price adjustments for selected units.

"We see this in cases where two projects may be coming up side by side, or where there are upcoming projects in the same area."

As for the city fringe, there could be a slower price decline in the fourth quarter with the launches of Principal Garden and Thomson Impressions, said Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.

"As long as there is a dearth of new landmark launches - in the size of at least 500 to 700 units - you would probably see the index weakening, more than in a quarter where a region has one or two projects of that size and you have 25 to 30 per cent take-up," said Mr Cheong.

Private home rents fell 0.6 per cent in the last quarter, less than the second quarter's 1.1 per cent decline.

But the rental market has softened faster this year so far, said JLL national research director Ong Teck Hui. The rental index for non-landed homes fell 3.6 per cent in the first three quarters, compared with 1.8 per cent in the same period last year.

"The strong growth in completed supply has not been matched by leasing demand, which has been impeded by policy restrictions on the intake of foreign labour," he said.

The overall vacancy rate moderated a tad in the last quarter, falling 0.1 percentage point to 7.8 per cent. The non-landed vacancy rate was 0.1 percentage point lower at 9.1 per cent.

But vacancy rates should still rise, with that for non-landed homes expected to exceed 10 per cent amid a record number of home completions. A total of 25,169 private residences were vacant at the end of the last quarter, believed to be an all-time high.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'Private home prices fall at faster pace in Q3'. Print Edition | Subscribe