SINGAPORE - The private resale housing market saw prices in May inch up 0.9 per cent to a new high, even while the number of condominium units resold dipped by 11.4 per cent as tightened Covid-19 measures restrict property viewings.
The limit on group sizes, which is in place till June 13, has put a slight drag on resale volume, with 1,722 units changing hands last month, compared with 1,944 units in April, according to flash data from real estate portal SRX released on Tuesday (June 8).
However, the sales drop was not as drastic compared with the circuit breaker period last year when volume plunged 57.6 per cent from 747 units in March 2020 to 317 units in April 2020, noted Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie.
Ms Sun said last month's sales decline was mitigated by buyers and agents growing more accustomed to remote viewings. Also, some buyers probably viewed the units before restrictions kicked in and were able to proceed with their home purchases, she added.
Volumes last month were up strongly by 811 per cent from the 189 units resold in May 2020, when the circuit breaker was in effect.
It is also 86.6 per cent higher than the five-year average volume for the month of May.
PropNex head of research and content Wong Siew Ying said that while virtual tours have helped to some extent, they may not necessarily offer the same experience of viewing a unit in person.
"As many buyers of resale properties acquire the unit for their own stay, they still prefer to view the property in person to get a sense of the living environment and the vibe of the area," she said.
Despite viewing restrictions, May prices remained strong and rose 6.9 per cent year on year.
OrangeTee's Ms Sun said: "Many sellers probably see the movement restrictions as temporary and are expecting demand to pick up again after the heightened alert period. Therefore some sellers may not see a need to adjust their prices now."
ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said the private residential property sales volume in the primary and resale market is likely to bounce back in the months after curbs are lifted on June 13.
"The higher transaction volume would also support the continuing rise in housing prices, unless the Government were to intervene with another round of cooling measures," he said.
Prices of resale condo units in the city fringe grew by 1.8 per cent, the fastest among the three market segments. Those in the outside central region grew by 0.8 per cent, while prices in central Singapore slipped by 0.7 per cent.
The highest transacted price for a private resale unit last month was $13.3 million at The Marq on Paterson Hill in Orchard Road, according to SRX data.
In the city fringes, a unit at Reflections at Keppel Bay fetched the highest price of $5.7 million, while in the outside central region, the top spot went to a $3.5 million unit at St Patrick's Residences in Marine Parade.
In its report, SRX noted that the overall median capital gain in May was $190,800, a decrease of $9,200 compared with the month before.
The capital gain or loss of a condo resale unit is calculated by comparing the current transacted price with the previous transacted price of the same unit.
District 21 (Clementi/Upper Bukit Timah) posted the highest median capital gain of $377,000, while District 4 (Sentosa/HarbourFront) posted a median capital loss of $135,000.