Rents for private apartments, HDB flats down in Feb

Rents for condominiums and private apartments declined 0.7 per cent in February compared to January, while those for HDB flats fell 0.9 per cent over the same period, according to SRX Property's latest flash rental report.

Private rents have resumed a 11-month decline since February last year - broken by what market experts termed blips of rentals inching up in January and December.

Year on year, rents last month were down by 5 per cent from February 2015 and 15.2 per cent off their peak in January 2013, the figures released yesterday showed.

Private rents had eked out modest month-on-month increases of 0.2 per cent in January and 0.4 per cent in December.

But market experts said this was probably due to renters signing shorter-term leases, which tend to lock in higher rents than longer term leases.

The number of private leases signed fell 17.5 per cent to an estimated 2,797 units last month from 3,389 in January. But year on year, the rental volume in February was 0.5 per cent higher than the 2,784 units rented in the same month last year.

Property consultants note though that much of recent rental transactions have been driven by rental renewals rather than new demand.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim warned last month that headwinds remain strong in the rental market, as there will be some 21,906 private residential units to be completed this year - mostly in the suburban areas - more than the 18,971 completed units last year.

SRX's data yesterday showed that private rents in the city-fringe and suburbs fell by 1.8 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively last month, while units in the prime central districts rose by 1.3 per cent.

Turning to the Housing Board market, rents saw their sixth month of decline since August last year, broken by the increase in January.

February rents overall are down by 3.7 per cent from the previous year and 9.1 per cent lower than their peak in August 2013, SRX data showed.

HDB three- and five-room and executive flats posted 0.6 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 0.9 per cent declines in rents respectively. Rents for four-room flats inched up by 0.1 per cent.

Rental volume also fell for HDB flats with an estimated 1,371 units leased in February, a 20.1 per cent fall from 1,715 in January.

Year on year, rental volume last month was down 11.3 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2016, with the headline 'Rents for private apartments, HDB flats down in Feb'. Print Edition | Subscribe