Condo resale prices and volume rise in January, ahead of any coronavirus impact

Private resale prices for condominiums and apartments edged up 0.5 per cent in January from December. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Resale prices and sales of non-landed private homes nudged up in January, as analysts said any fallout from the coronavirus epidemic will only hit the property market from this month onwards.

According to flash data released by real estate portal SRX Property on Tuesday (Feb 11), private resale prices for condominiums and apartments edged up 0.5 per cent in January from December while transaction volume rose 4 per cent.

Compared to the resale volume from March to November 2019, the sale of 684 units in November was relatively low. This is likely due to the market lull period during the Lunar New Year season. Of note, the sales volume in January was still 15.9 per cent higher than for the same month last year and and 13.4 above the five-year average volume for January.

Despite the effects of the Lunar New Year, resale prices were still on a slight upward trend, ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak observed. They were up 2.3 per cent year on year in January, after rising by 1.7 per cent for the whole of 2019.

Mr Mak said the private resale market was largely not affected by the coronavirus outbreak in January, and he foresees any impact will start to be felt this month, with transaction volume more adversely affected than prices.

He said: "Potential homebuyers may avoid viewing resale properties for fear of coming into contact with the coronavirus. Property sellers may be reluctant to open up their homes for strangers to view the properties as they are worried that there is a chance that one or more of the buyers could be a carrier of the virus.

"As a result, the resale volume in the first quater of 2020 could fall by as much as 25 to 35 per cent quarter on quarter."

Property prices on the other hand, could be more resilient.

"Property owners who are not in a hurry to dispose of their real estate would resist lowering their asking prices, especially if they are confident that this virus outbreak, like all other previous outbreaks, would eventually pass," said Mr Mak.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, said it is still too early to gauge the impact of the coronavirus on the private resale market.

"Currently, there is no major impact on the property market as it is not one of the sectors that are directly affected by the coronavirus, unlike tourism, retail, food & beverage and MICE," she said. MICE refers to meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

She noted also the concerted effort by governments around the world to contain the virus, with many countries now more prepared to deal with the epidemic, given their experience and hindsight from Sars.

SRX's data also show the highest transacted price for a resale unit in January was $18.2 million for a apartment at Le Nouvel Ardmore at Ardmore Park in prime district 10. In the city fringes, a unit at Camelot By-The-Water in Tanjong Rhu went for $6.6 million, while in the suburbs, a unit at Waterfront Key in Bedok Reservoir resold for $3.2 million.

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