Private home prices here have posted a 14th straight quarter of decline, but analysts say the end of the market funk could be in sight as the pace of falls has slowed - and suburban condo prices even rose a tad.
Urban Redevelopment Authority estimates out yesterday show that overall prices fell by 0.5 per cent from the last quarter of last year to the first quarter this year. This was the same pace as the drop from the third quarter last year to the fourth.
Prices of landed properties fell more steeply than those of non-landed properties in the first quarter ended March 31.
Non-landed property prices were flat for the first time after 13 quarters of decline. The star performer was non-landed property in the suburbs, posting price growth of 0.1 per cent after 13 quarters of falls.
The flash estimates are compiled based on sale prices given in contracts submitted for stamp duty payment and data on units sold by developers up until mid-last month.
JLL's national director of research and consultancy Ong Teck Hui attributed the slight rise to successful projects in the suburbs. He said: "During the quarter, we saw strong responses to launches such as The Clement Canopy and Grandeur Park Residences, while projects from previous launches such as Parc Riviera and The Santorini also garnered substantial sales."
Recent tweaks to property market curbs boosted buying sentiment a little, but this is not regarded by analysts as a major factor in the market.
The proportion of primary market sales for non-landed homes in the suburbs rose to 74 per cent in the first quarter, well up on the 2016 average of 59 per cent, Mr Ong said.
In contrast, landed property prices slid 2.8 per cent, after rising 0.8 per cent in the previous quarter.
Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE research for Singapore and South- east Asia, said the fall was a "function of the price of the projects transacted", mainly in the suburbs.
Ms Tricia Song, head of research at Colliers International Singapore, said: "We expect the market will still soften in the first half of this year by 1 to 3 per cent, due to economic uncertainty and the historic high level of home completions in 2016. With supply tapering off, we could see prices begin to stabilise by end-2017."
Mr Ong said positive buying sentiment in the first quarter and healthy sales volumes would "eventually lead to prices stabilising, especially in the non-landed market".
The outlook was more gloomy for the public housing sector, where resale flat prices were estimated to have fallen by 0.6 per cent from the fourth quarter last year to the first quarter this year, said the HDB.
While prices had been fairly unchanged for five quarters, Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants, said the "fall could signal a new round of price weakness", but could also be due to a lull over Chinese New Year.
The fall was within forecasts, he said, adding that government plans not to cut the Build-to-Order flat supply for this year could add to price weakness. "The much-awaited recovery in the HDB resale price index may not occur this year," he said.