SINGAPORE - The sluggish rental market for both private and HDB properties is showing no signs of improving, going by flash data from real estate portal SRX on Wednesday (Oct 10).
Rents for condominiums and private apartments in September dipped by 0.4 per cent from the previous month. They were unchanged in August, from an earlier SRX estimate of a 0.1 per cent dip.
After falling quite far from their peak and then stagnating, private rentals have barely budged from a year ago - they are down by 0.1 per cent from September 2017. Compared to their record high in January 2013, they are weaker by 19.4 per cent.
Going by location, private rents in the prime or core central region (CCR) decreased by 0.5 per cent month on month in September. Rents in the suburbs or outside central region (OCR) declined by 0.7 per cent, while rents in the city fringes or rest of central region (RCR) were unchanged.
Year on year, RCR and OCR rents have risen 0.5 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively, but CCR rents have dropped by 1.6 per cent.
SRX said the number of condo and private apartments leased fell by 14.8 per cent in September to an estimated 4,199 units from 4,929 in August.
Year on year, though, rental volume in September was 1.8 per cent higher than the 4,126 units signed for in September 2017.
Meanwhile, Housing Board flat rents in September fell 0.5 per cent from August, after posting two straight months of slight gain.
Year on year, HDB rents are down by 1 per cent from September 2017, and off by 15.6 per cent from their last peak in August 2013.
SRX revised up the monthly change in August HDB rents to a 0.3 per cent increase from a 0.1 per cent rise.
Fewer HDB flats were also rented out in September with leasings down 3.8 per cent to an estimated 1,690 units from 1,757 the month before, SRX said.
Year on year, rental volume in September dropped by 0.9 per cent from the 1,705 units rented in September 2017.
Rents for five-room flats inched up 0.1 per cent month on month. Meanwhile, rents for three-room flats, four-room flats, and executive flats decreased by 1.2 per cent, 0.3 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, rents in mature estates decreased by 0.9 per cent month on month and those in non-mature estates fell 0.1 per cent.
Year on year, rents of mature estates in September slipped 0.9 per cent and rents of non-mature estates fell 1.2 per cent.
Commenting on September's figures, OrangeTee & Tie's head of research & consultancy, Christine Sun, said: "Rental demand for both private and HDB markets could have fallen due to the slight decline in foreign employment this year, especially in the construction and marine shipyard sectors. The permanent resident and non-resident population in Singapore had also dipped year on year."
But, she added: "Due to the increased additional buyer's stamp duty for foreign buyers, some foreigners may switch from buying a home to renting one in the coming months. Singapore being a magnet for foreign investment will also continue to attract companies to shift or grow their operations here."
For the third quarter, private rents have dipped by 0.1 per cent from the previous three months, while HDB rents edged up by 0.1 per cent. SRX said its quarter-on-quarter calculations are based on the index average of the three months in Q3 and that of the preceding quarter.