SINGAPORE - The rental volume for both Housing Board flats and condominium units went up in December as more overseas Singaporeans and long-term pass holders returned to Singapore.
Condo leasings rose 5.3 per cent last month to an estimated 4,414 units, compared with 4,193 units in November, according to flash data from real estate portal SRX Property released on Wednesday (Jan 13).
The rental volume was 15.4 per cent higher than the five-year average volume for the month of December.
However, the full-year 2020 total of 52,333 rental transactions was 11.4 per cent lower than for 2019.
HDB rental volume climbed 9 per cent month on month to an estimated 1,774 flats in December, compared with 1,627 units in November.
Year on year, HDB leasings are down 4 per cent from December 2019, before the onset of Covid-19.
A total of 20,501 rental transactions were recorded for the whole of 2020, which is 15.3 per cent lower than for 2019.
OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun said the rising number of foreigners being let go, weak hiring prospects and travel restrictions last year have lowered the total rental transactions for both private residential and HDB markets in 2020, as compared with 2019.
"The pandemic seemed to have reversed a decade of rampant growth in rental demand," she said.
However, she noted that rental volume increased in December over November as more Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders returned to Singapore, with some likely requiring short to mid-term accommodation as they scouted for a more permanent place.
"We have also observed more overseas students looking for accommodation during this period of time. Some locals who have just sold their private homes or flats have also rented a unit in the interim as they wait for the completion of their new place," she said.
Overall rents for condo units in December decreased by 0.3 per cent from November, breaking a five-month streak.
In December, rents in the core central region (CCR) decreased by 0.4 per cent month on month, while rents in the outside central region (OCR) slipped 0.6 per cent. Only rents in the rest of central region increased, by a slight 0.1 per cent.
Overall rents for the whole of 2020 dipped by 0.2 per cent.
The HDB rental market remained strong as rent increased by 0.4 per cent in December from the month before.
Rents in mature estates rose 0.9 per cent, while those in non-mature estates edged down by 0.1 per cent.
Overall HDB rents increased by 1.2 per cent in 2020 compared with the year before, although they are still lower than the 1.4 per cent rise in 2019.
ERA Realty's head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said some condo landlords had likely lowered rents to attract tenants during the traditional year-end lull period.
However, he added that after an eventful year battered by the pandemic and economic recession, the private condominium rental market is showing signs of stability as leasing volume increased 0.5 per cent from 2019.
On the HDB residential market front, he noted that both the resale and rental segments in 2020 did "exceptionally well" in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The private and HDB residential leasing markets are expected to continue to stabilise with limited growth until the local employment market starts to expand significantly, which could happen in the second half of 2021," he said.