Condo resale prices surged 10.3% in 2021, with sales up nearly 82%

In 2020, condo resale prices gained just 1.4 per cent. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prices of resale condominium units climbed 10.3 per cent last year, underscoring the hot property market that triggered new cooling measures in mid-December.

In 2020, condo resale prices gained just 1.4 per cent.

This comes after resale prices rose in December by 1 per cent, marking the 17th consecutive month of growth, according to flash figures by 99.co and SRX Property released on Tuesday (Jan 11).

Mr Pow Ying Khuan, head of research at 99.co, said the minimal impact of the cooling measures on December's prices is "not surprising" as most deals would have been in their final stages when the measures kicked in on Dec 16.

"It's expected that the full impact of the higher additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) and tightened total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) may only be fully reflected in the next few months," he said.

"For now, the tightened TDSR serves as a pre-emptive measure to prevent over-leveraging, especially with impending interest rate hikes, as a mere drop of 5 per cent will likely not affect affordability significantly," Mr Pow added.

Resale transactions fell for the fourth straight month in December with an estimated 1,563 units changing hands, down 1.2 per cent from the 1,582 units in the previous month.

But resale volume for the whole of 2021 jumped by 81.8 per cent over 2020 to an estimated 20,079 units, 99-SRX data showed.

PropNex Realty head of research and content Wong Siew Ying said the dip in transactions in December was likely due to seasonality as more people went on year-end breaks for the first time since Covid-19 hit.

Last month, mass-market condos in the suburbs accounted for the lion's share of the sales volume at around 59.1 per cent. Homes in the city fringes accounted for 23.7 per cent, while the remaining 17.2 per cent were in core central Singapore.

The highest transacted price for a resale condo unit last month was $14.8 million for a unit at Altez, a 99-year leasehold condo in Tanjong Pagar.

In the city fringes, the highest transacted price was $7.2 million for a 99-year leasehold apartment at Corals At Keppel Bay in HarbourFront.

In suburban areas, a unit at freehold Grand Duchess At St Patrick's in the Marine Parade area sold for $3.95 million.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, said 43.2 per cent of last month's resale condos were transacted after Dec 16, when the cooling measures took effect, citing Urban Redevelopment Authority Realis data.

"Of these transactions that took place after the cooling measures, slightly more than half were in the suburbs," she said.

"This indicates that mass-market home buyers, who are usually Housing Board flat upgraders, continue to buy condos despite the new cooling measures. Perhaps many of these buyers have sold their HDB flats and were not affected by the increased ABSD since they do not hold any other properties," she said.

ERA Singapore head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said the latest round of cooling measures may cause developers to hold off any actions and observe for clearer signs of impact on the broader market before they replenish their declining land banks.

This could lead to some of the larger collective sale tenders closing in January and February "without bids that would meet the reserve prices", he added.

Last month, Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings was reported to have withdrawn from a $556.7 million collective sale deal for High Point condominium, which is located at 30 Mount Elizabeth in the downtown District 9 enclave.

Mr Mak said resale transaction volume in January and February may be lower than usual, coupled with the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities, but he expects sales to bounce back thereafter.

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