SINGAPORE - Private home prices fell an estimated 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year from the end of last year, according to flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) out on Friday (April 1).
This marked the tenth straight quarter of price decline, the longest consecutive period of decline in nearly 20 years.
Prices are now 9.1 per cent below their last peak in the third quarter of 2013.
Still, this is moderate compared with the last similarly long stretch of decline, when prices slid 44.9 per cent from the second quarter of 1996 to the end of 1998.
More recently, prices fell a sharp 24.9 per cent over four quarters during the global financial crisis, although they picked up from the second quarter of 2009 and rose 62.2 per cent till the third quarter of 2013.
During the first quarter, prices of non-landed private residential properties rose by an estimated 0.4 per cent in core central region, compared with the 0.3 per cent decline in the previous quarter.
Prices in the city fringes fell 0.4 per cent, similar to the previous quarter.
Prices in the suburbs fell 0.9 per cent. They were unchanged in the previous quarter.
Luxury properties here are increasingly perceived as value buys by global investors, experts have noted.
This is as private home prices in Singapore have been brought down by the double whammy of government cooling measures and looming supply.
The vacancy rate of private homes hit a 10-year high of 8.1 per cent by the fourth quarter of last year. This represents about 26,517 vacant private homes, up from 25,169 in the third quarter.
It comes after 18,971 private homes were completed last year amid a weaker economic outlook for Singapore and falling immigration numbers.
A total of 21,906 private homes are set to be completed this year, 14,351 next year and 10,402 in 2018.
URA’s flash estimates are compiled based on transaction prices given in contracts submitted for stamp duty payment and data on new units sold by developers up till mid-March.
The statistics will be updated four weeks later when URA releases the full real estate statistics for the first quarter, which captures more data from the stamp duty records and the take-up of new projects.
Prices will probably keep gradually falling this year, shedding about 3 to 4 per cent for 2016 - similar to the 3.7 per cent decline in 2015, said Mr Eugene Lim, ERA Realty key executive officer.
Transaction volume is likely to pick up from March to July until the Hungry Ghost month in August, and again from September to November before the year-end lull sets in, he added.