Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended higher across the board at the latest tender yesterday, with the motorcycle premium chalking up the biggest rise of 6.1 per cent to hit $6,801, the second-highest amount on record.
The increase in the motorbike COE price surprised dealers, who had expected the new higher taxes to dampen demand.
A tiered additional registration fee - announced on Monday in the Budget - was introduced to make motorcycle taxes more progressive.
Mr Norman Lee, honorary general secretary of the Singapore Motorcycle Trade Association, said the higher taxes for high-end bikes "will depress COE prices in the long run".
He added that premiums should dip when motorbikes no longer have to contribute to the Open COE category from May. "But in the short run, COE supply is still far short of demand," he noted.
Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said there will be 10 per cent more COEs for motorbikes soon because the two-wheeler category will no longer have to contribute to the Open COE category.
"There was no reason for companies to bid aggressively," he said, adding that speculative "hoarding" by bigger players might have contributed to the price rise.
"The Government should make bike COEs non-transferable, like those for cars," he added.
Meanwhile, the COE premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp rose by 2.1 per cent to finish at $49,430. The COE price for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp climbed 5 per cent to hit $50,621.
The price for Open COEs, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mostly for bigger cars, also rose by 5 per cent to reach $51,000.
The commercial vehicle COE price inched up 1.9 per cent to end at $49,810.
Mr Wong of Kah Motor said yesterday's car COE price increases were caused by "panic buying". When the Land Transport Authority announced last week that this week's COE tender would be delayed by two days, it triggered speculation that changes were afoot that would push prices up.
In a self-fulfilling prophecy, premiums all rose on the back of a rush to showrooms at the weekend.
"But prices didn't go up by as much as I expected," Mr Wong added. "Dealers were restrained in bidding. So that is good."