Private home prices to ease further in 2017, say analysts

Private houses in Mayflower Gardens with HDB blocks in Ang Mo Kio in the background. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Private home prices fell for the third straight year, declining by 3 per cent in 2016, according to latest estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday (Jan 3).

This is the smallest price drop over the last three years, compared with the 3.7 per cent decline in 2015 and 4 per cent fall in 2014.

URA's data showed that overall private residential property prices dipped by 0.4 per cent from the third to fourth quarter last year - the 13th consecutive quarter of price decline.

Property prices have weakened owing to a raft of property cooling measures introduced in the past years.

Home values have dropped by 11.2 per cent since a peak in the third quarter of 2013.

Analysts expect overall private home prices to continue to ease, albeit at a gradual pace, this year.

"While there are signs that the market is bottoming out, it is still premature to conclude that is the case given the uncertainty of the macroeconomy," said Mr Lee Nai Jia, head of research (Southeast Asia) at Edmund Tie & Company.

ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim noted: "Due to the lack of positive economic news, we are expecting that prices will generally continue their decline. However, buyers may capitalise on this continued window of falling prices to snag some attractive deals."

Mr Lim forecasts that private home prices could see a 3 to 3.5 per cent decrease this year.

"The current price points attracted home investors' interest in 2016 and we predict that the volume of transactions in the private residential segment to close the year at 16,000, a 13 per cent increase from 2015," added PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor.

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