Rents of HDB flats are still withstanding the property market chill better than those of private apartments and condominiums, SRX Property's flash estimates released yesterday showed.
HDB flat rents edged down 0.1 per cent last month from February while private apartment rents fell 1 per cent. Compared with the same month a year back, HDB flat rents fell 3.9 per cent while private apartment rents tumbled 5.3 per cent.
Rental demand from foreigners working here on lower rental budgets or Singaporeans waiting for their flats to be completed is still strong for HDB flats.
"It is much easier to rent out an HDB because of this support level. Private condos are also still beyond the budget of many tenants," said Mr Eugene Lim, ERA Realty's key executive officer.
Rents of HDB flats in mature estates have fared slightly better over the past year. They are 3.2 per cent lower compared with those a year earlier, while those in non-mature estates are 4.6 per cent lower.
This could be due to better infrastructure and connectivity in the mature estates, said Mr Lim.
Private apartment rents in the core central region (CCR) fell 0.8 per cent from February, while they fell 1.9 per cent in the rest of central region (RCR) and dipped 0.4 per cent in the outside central region (OCR) or suburbs.
Compared with a year back, they fell 0.6 per cent in the CCR, 8.4 per cent in the RCR and 7.8 per cent in the OCR.
Industry observers noted, however, that rents in the CCR have fallen sharply in recent times.
Monthly rent for a three-bedroom unit of about 1,600 sq ft in Paterson Suites has fallen from about $7,000 in January to $5,800 in February. There have also been no transactions for four-bedroom units since December.
Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong said: "Either the offers are so low that owners would rather not rent out or expatriates and their families are being sent back."
More softness lies ahead for the CCR rental market amid continued job losses in the finance, and oil and gas sectors.
Rental volume for both HDB and private apartments rose year on year. They increased 3 per cent to 2,214 HDB rental contracts and jumped 9.3 per cent to 4,331 private apartment rental contracts. But the rise was probably due to existing tenants shopping around for better deals rather than new demand coming into the market, experts say.