Condo, HDB rents rise in February; leasing volume dips

This marks the 14th straight month of growth for condo rents and the 20th for HDB rents. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The rental prices for Housing Board flats and private apartments continued to rise last month, while leasing volume in both markets dipped.

Condominium rents last month climbed by 1.4 per cent, while HDB rents rose by 1.7 per cent, according to flash figures from real estate portals and SRX released on Wednesday (March 16).

This marks the 14th straight month of growth for condo rents and the 20th for HDB rents.

Rental growth was observed at condos across the board - in central Singapore, the city fringes and the suburbs as well. Compared with February last year, condo rents were up 11.8 per cent.

But rental volume for the condo market fell by 5 per cent to an estimated 4,248 units, compared with 4,473 in January.

The biggest share of units rented was located in the suburbs, which made up 37.3 per cent of total rental volume.

Property analysts said the shrinking rental stock and a lack of new homes caused by delays in construction drove up rents.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, said: "Many would-be homebuyers, who were priced out of the market or were affected by new cooling measures, are boosting demand for rentals and pushing rents higher."

Property cooling measures introduced in December last year raised the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates from 12 per cent to 17 per cent for citizens buying their second residential property, and from 15 per cent to 25 per cent for those buying their third and subsequent ones.

The total debt servicing ratio for borrowers has been tightened from 60 per cent to 55 per cent.

The ABSD is 30 per cent, up from 20 per cent, for foreigners buying any residential property.

Ms Sun added that many owners of private homes and HDB flats have been selling their units as resale prices have been on the rise. "New completions are also not meeting demand for housing," she said.

ERA Singapore head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak noted that the delay in the completion of Build-to-Order flats and new condo projects has caused some households to rent temporarily, driving up rents.

Rents for HDB flats rose across all flat types in both mature and non-mature estates. Year on year, HDB rents were 12.4 per cent higher from February last year.

But fewer HDB flats were leased last month, down by 19 per cent to an estimated 1,406 units, compared with 1,735 units in January.

Mr Mak said the decline in leasing volume in both HDB and condo markets was likely due to the Chinese New Year lull and a surge in Covid-19 cases here.

But, due to construction delays caused by Covid-19, both rental markets are expected to remain robust this year, he said.

"As the economy recovers and the job market expands this year, more foreigners could be attracted to work and live in Singapore. Hence, rental demand will remain healthy and support rental growth," he added.

Mr Mak estimated that HDB and condo rents may rise by 8 per cent to 12 per cent this year.

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