Sharp rise in resale private home sales

Costa Rhu Condominium in Tanjong Rhu, with the Singapore Flyer in the background. SRX data showed overall resale prices of non-landed private homes edged up by 0.3 per cent in March from February.
Costa Rhu Condominium in Tanjong Rhu, with the Singapore Flyer in the background. SRX data showed overall resale prices of non-landed private homes edged up by 0.3 per cent in March from February.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Despite last month's surge, analysts say it's too early to declare market has turned corner

Sales of resale non-landed private homes hit an eight-month high last month, owing to a surge in transactions after Chinese New Year resulted in a traditionally quiet February.

An estimated 577 resale units were sold in March, up 47.6 per cent from 391 in February, and the highest since 586 units changed hands in July last year, according to a flash report by SRX Property yesterday.

Last month's sales volume was also a hefty 19 per cent higher than the 485 units resold in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Despite the pick-up in buying activity, analysts told The Straits Times it is too early to declare that the private resale home market has turned a corner.

ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim said: "The market still has some downside to go but it is not expected to be significant.

"With challenging economic conditions, rising bank loan interest rates and rising vacancies, we do not think the market has bottomed out as yet."

  • 577
    Number of resale units sold last month.

  • 47.6%
    The percentage increase from the 391 units sold in February.

PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor said the resale market is expected to "remain flat" or show modest decline in prices in the next few quarters.

SRX data also showed overall resale prices of non-landed private homes edged up by 0.3 per cent in March from February, but fell 1.2 per cent when compared with the the same month last year.

Last month's small price rise came as SRX revised its figures for February, saying prices fell by a steeper 0.6 per cent that month - more than the 0.3 per cent fall projected in its earlier flash estimate.

PropNex Realty said the lower resale prices compared with those of the last two years probably enticed more buyers who had been waiting on the sidelines to make a purchase.

"With marginal price drops in the last few quarters, this could be a signal that buyers are confident that prices may not fall very much more from today's level," said Mr Ismail.

In terms of location, SRX data showed that resale prices in the core central region or city centre fell 1.7 per cent last month against February, while prices climbed in the two other segments: a 0.1 per cent rise on the city fringes and 1.3 per cent rise in suburban areas.

Analysts said it is still a buyer's market, and sellers have been more willing to lower their asking prices.

ERA's Mr Lim noted: "Sellers who are in a pinch may decide to cut their losses to sell now rather than later. So buyers with the capacity and ability to pick up properties are in an increasingly favourable position."

Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong expects the resale market to remain active in the coming months, and for overall resale prices of non-landed homes to drop by 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent this year.

"Resale prices could get some support from new launches which are still priced firmly with upside bias because the cost of land has been rising. So they act like a benchmark for the resale market," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Sharp rise in resale private home sales'. Print Edition | Subscribe