Rental demand for HDB, condos rebound in August with easing of Covid-19 curbs: SRX data

This comes after a decline in rental volumes for two straight months for both private apartments and HDB flats. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Rental demand for both Housing Board and condominium units rebounded last month after tenants returned to the market as Covid-19 viewing restrictions eased.

Flash data from real estate portal SRX on Wednesday (Sept 15) showed that the rental volume for private apartments rose 6.6 per cent month on month in August to 4,907 units.

The number of HDB flats leased increased by 6 per cent to 1,842 over the same period.

This comes after a decline in rental volumes for two straight months for both private apartments and HDB flats.

Year on year, rental volumes were higher by 2.1 per cent for private apartments and 5.7 per cent for HDB apartments.

Rents for private apartments last month were relatively unchanged, inching down 0.08 per cent from July, while HDB rents saw a small increase of 0.3 per cent.

This marks the 14th consecutive month HDB rents have climbed, while, before last month, condo rents had risen for seven straight months.

Condo rents have gone up by 7.6 per cent since August last year, but they are still down 10.9 per cent from their peak in January 2013.

Last month's HDB rents were up 8.6 per cent year on year. They are off by 7.3 per cent from their peak in August 2013.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, said the rise in demand followed the easing of viewing restrictions from a cap of two distinct visitors per household per day to five after Aug 10.

Domestic demand seems to be propping up the leasing market, said Ms Sun.

"We have observed more locals renting especially HDB upgraders who have recently sold their homes.

"Others leased temporarily as the construction of their new homes have been delayed. Hence, rents of more affordable housing units like the private homes in the outside of central region and HDB flats continued to rise last month."

She added that there were more tenants who were students or permanent residents who have just returned from overseas.

"When our border controls ease further, we may expect rental demand to rise further," she said.

Huttons chief executive Mark Yip said it was unlikely there would be a boost to condo rental demand in the short term with the country's endemic road map on pause for now.

He added: "The HDB rental market saw sustained growth in August."

"Some single professionals are choosing to rent so as to have their own space while working from home, resulting in an increase in demand."

"However, the resident unemployment rate inched up in July 2021 and that may exert some pressure on rents in the coming months," said Mr Yip.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.