SINGAPORE - Resale prices and sales of non-landed private homes were hit last month from what one market observer called a "triple whammy" of coronavirus, the Chinese New Year seasonal slowdown and supply of new units from recent launches.
As a result, prices of resale homes in February slipped 0.8 per cent from January while sales volume fell 13.1 per cent, according to flash data released by real estate portal SRX Property on Tuesday (March 10). The month-on-month price decline is the biggest since a 1 per cent drop in October 2016, for SRX's data.
Prices dipped across all three market segments, with homes outside the central region (OCR) posting the biggest decline of 1.3 per cent. Prices dipped just 0.1 per cent for apartments in the prime districts or core central region (CCR), and by 0.8 per cent for those in the city fringes or rest of central region (RCR).
"The temporary pullback in sales is not surprising," said Orange Tee & Tie's head of research & consultancy Christine Sun, who observed the "triple whammy".
She said: "Given the heightened awareness of Covid-19, some owners and potential buyers had postponed their house viewings and this may have resulted in fewer deals being closed last month. Developers have also continued to launch new homes which may have drawn some demand from the secondary market.
"Some potential buyers had also held off purchases amid hopes of lower prices in light of the current uncertain external environment. In comparison, sellers, especially deep-pocketed ones, maybe holding off for better offers. Sales may likely improve when the Covid-19 situation stabilises."
Year on year, private resale prices were up by 0.8 per cent over February last year. All regions saw year-on-year price increases in February 2020: CCR by 0.8 per cent, RCR by 1.6 per cent and OCR by 0.2 per cent.
An estimated 589 resale units were taken up in February compared to 678 units the previous month. While this was 10.9 per cent higher than in February 2019, it was 7.7 per cent lower than the five-year average volume for the month of February.
Breaking down by location, 50.2 per cent of the volume came from from OCR, 25.3 per cent comes from CCR and 24.5 per cent comes from RCR.
SRX's data also show the highest transacted price for a resale unit in February was $16 million for an apartment at Le Nouvel Ardmore in Ardmore Park in prime District 10.
In the city fringes, a unit at 99-year leasehold Reflections at Keppel Bay in the Harbourfront area resold for $5.4 million. In the suburbs, the highest transacted price was $3.2 million for a unit at Grand Duchess at St Patrick's, a freehold property in the East Coast.