SINGAPORE - Rents continued to rise last month for both private apartments and Housing Board flats, while the number of leasings for both fell with the double-whammy of the Chinese New Year lull and Covid-19 restrictions.
Rents of condominiums and private apartments in February climbed 1 per cent month on month while HDB rates increased 0.5 per cent, according to flash data from real estate portal SRX on Thursday (March 11).
Condo rents were up for a second straight month and were 1.2 per cent higher than in February last year. They were still 14 per cent lower than their peak in January 2013.
HDB rents, meanwhile, have now risen for eight straight months - making for a 5.2 per cent increase from June 2020 to February this year. Year on year, rents were up 2 per cent though they are still down 11.6 per cent from their peak in August 2013.
Ms Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie's senior vice-president of research and analytics, said occupancy is rather high now as many tenants have chosen to renew their contracts over the past few months.
"More locals are staying in Singapore, resulting in fewer listings and homes being put up for rental. The reduced available stock for rental may have helped to prop up rents in recent months," said Ms Sun.
Based on the SRX rental price index, rents for both markets are still on a general uptrend and may continue to rise as travel restrictions are further eased and more foreigners return to Singapore, she added.
Rental volume, meanwhile, dropped last month for both the HDB and private markets.
February's condo leasings declined 9.9 per cent month on month to an estimated 4,013 units. Year on year, rental volume was 19.5 per cent lower, and 2.1 per cent less than the five-year average volume for the month of February.
HDB rental volume fell 17.7 per cent to an estimated 1,497 flats last month, compared with 1,819 units in January.
By flat type, 34 per cent were four-room units, 34 per cent were three-room, 25.6 per cent were five-room and 6.5 per cent were executive flats.
Year on year, HDB leasings were down 23.2 per cent, and 11.2 per cent lower than the five-year average volume for the month of February.
Ms Sun noted that on top of activity typically slowing down during the Chinese New Year period, Covid-19 visiting restrictions imposed during this year's festive period further impacted the rental market as fewer viewings could be arranged.
Rental activities may pick up this month as house viewings resume, she said.
In addition, the delay in the construction of HDB build-to-order flats have also caused some newly married couples to explore renting for a year or more while they wait for the completion of their flats, he said. ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said that with the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out in Singapore and many other countries, it is widely expected that the leasing market will return to some aspect of pre-Covid-19 normalcy as border restrictions are gradually eased and the employment market starts to expand.