Slower decline in private home prices

Home prices in the core central region, which includes the Scotts Road and Cairnhill areas (above), remained unchanged from the third to the fourth quarter.
Home prices in the core central region, which includes the Scotts Road and Cairnhill areas (above), remained unchanged from the third to the fourth quarter.ST FILE PHOTO

Estimates show 2016 saw lowest drop in three years, a sign that market may be bottoming out

Private home prices have slipped for the 13th straight quarter - with signs that the bottom of the market may be in sight.

Estimates out yesterday showed that overall prices fell by 0.4 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter last year.

This was a far cry from the stark drop of 1.5 per cent from the second to the third quarter, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) noted.

Home values have fallen by 11.2 per cent since the third quarter of 2013 amid a raft of property cooling measures that hit demand.

"The latest flash estimates have possibly indicated that the trough is approaching," said Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research for Singapore and South-east Asia.

Private home prices fell 3 per cent last year - the lowest decline in three years, following a drop of 3.7 per cent in 2015 and 4 per cent in 2014. The downward trend is likely to continue this year, owing to a cloudy growth outlook and concerns over potential interest rate hikes.

 

"Given the weak rental market and uncertain economic climate, prices may continue to decline. That said, I expect the decline in prices to decelerate in 2017, on the back of increasing (sales) volumes," said Mr Wong Xian Yang, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee.

SLP International Property Consultants research head Nicholas Mak said: "Caution is going to be the watch word... I don't think home buyers or investors are going to splurge in a big way, or chase prices."

Market watchers project prices could fall by about 2 per cent to 3 per cent this year, and expect prospective buyers to remain selective and price-sensitive.

The URA estimates showed that prices of non-landed homes fell by 0.7 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter, after posting a 1.2 per cent fall from the second to the third quarter.

The fourth quarter's price decline was led by units in the city fringe, where prices fell by 2 per cent. That was followed by a 0.3 per cent decline in the suburbs, while home prices in the core central region remained unchanged from the third to the fourth quarter, after falling 1.9 per cent from the second to the third quarter.

"I think home prices in the core central region have stabilised and could have bottomed. This year, prices in the core central region should find more support," Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong told The Straits Times.

Landed properties bucked the trend, recording a price gain of 0.9 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter, against the 2.7 per cent drop from the second to the third quarter.

In the public housing sector, resale flat prices were estimated to have fallen by 0.1 per cent from the third to the fourth quarter, and also at the same rate of decline for the whole of last year, the Housing Board said yesterday.

It added that 17,000 new HDB flats will be launched for sale this year, with the first Build-To-Order exercise next month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2017, with the headline 'Slower decline in private home prices'. Print Edition | Subscribe