Condo resale prices rise for 19th straight month in February, volume falls by 9.5%

Compared with February last year, prices were up by 8.6 per cent. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prices of resale condominium units edged up for the 19th straight month in February, while the number of transactions continued to fall amid global uncertainties and a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Last month's 0.6 per cent price appreciation was quicker than January's 0.4 per cent, according to flash figures from real estate portals 99.co and SRX released on Tuesday (March 15).

Compared with February last year, prices were up by 8.6 per cent, data showed.

Meanwhile, resale volume dipped by 9.5 per cent, with an estimated 1,013 units changing hands last month, down from 1,119 the month before - marking the sixth straight month of falls.

Resale transactions declined by 23.9 per cent compared with February last year.

Property analysts said the weaker sales could be due to slower market activity over the Chinese New Year period and geopolitical uncertainties arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, said: "Some buyers may have taken a temporary backseat as the Russia-Ukraine conflict has rattled global supply chains and led to higher oil and natural gas prices worldwide, which have roiled commodity markets."

PropNex Realty head of research and content Wong Siew Ying said the surge in Covid-19 cases last month and tight availability of units in the resale market could have hurt sales.

"In addition, the higher ABSD (additional buyer's stamp duty) rates for foreign buyers and investors with multiple properties likely also affected sales, especially in the core central region, which tends to be popular with these buyers," she added.

Prices in core central Singapore slid 0.3 per cent last month.

The property cooling measures that were introduced in December raised 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.

Last month, condos in the suburbs contributed to most of the sales volume at around 63.9 per cent. Homes in the city fringes accounted for 22.3 per cent, while the remaining 13.8 per cent were in the core central region.

The highest transacted price for a resale condo last month was $10.5 million for a unit at the freehold Ardmore Park in the Orchard Road area.

In the city fringes, the highest transacted price was $6.78 million for a freehold apartment at Amber Residences in the Marine Parade area.

In suburban areas, a unit at freehold Goldenhill Park Condominium in Ang Mo Kio sold for $4.3 million.

Huttons Asia chief executive Mark Yip said the price gap between sellers and buyers has widened further.

"Buyers are expecting more price adjustments due to uncertainties but sellers in better financial position with the strong economic recovery are holding firm," he said.

Ms Wong said that despite the decline in transactions, she remains positive about the resale market.

"The limited project launches, dwindling unsold new homes and potentially more HDB upgraders looking to buy a private property will help to underpin demand for resale condos this year," she added.

She noted that an estimated 31,325 Housing Board flats will exit the five-year minimum occupation period this year, which could see more families upgrading to a private home.

As for prices, Ms Sun said buyers may not see significant markdowns in the coming months. "Slower price growth may persist until there is greater market clarity and the geopolitical situation stabilises," she added.

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