Rents for private non-landed homes and HDB flats resume their slide in February

Private condominiums and HDB flats in the eastern part of Singapore.
Private condominiums and HDB flats in the eastern part of Singapore. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Rents for condominiums and private apartments declined 0.7 per cent in February compared to January while those for HDB flats fell 0.9 per cent over the same period, according to SRX Property's latest flash rental report.

Private rents have resumed a 11-month decline since February 2015 - broken by what market experts termed blips of rentals inching up in January and December.

Year-on-year, rents in February were down by 5 per cent from February 2015 and 15.2 per cent off their peak in January 2013, the figures released on Wednesday (March 9) showed.

Private rents had eked out modest month-on-month increases of 0.2 per cent in January and 0.4 per cent in December. But market experts said this was probably due to renters signing shorter term leases, which tend to lock in higher rents than longer term leases.

The number of private leases signed fell 17.5 per cent to an estimated 2,797 units in February from 3,389 in January. But year-on-year, rental volume in February was 0.5 per cent higher than the 2,784 units rented in February 2015.

Property consultants note though that much of recent rental transactions have been driven by rental renewals rather than new demand.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim warned last month that headwinds remain strong in the rental market, as there will be some 21,906 private residential units to be completed this year - mostly in the suburban areas - more than the 18,971 completed units in 2015.

SRX's data on Wednesday showed that private rents in the city-fringe and suburbs fell by 1.8 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively in February, while units in the prime central districts rose by 1.3 per cent.

Turning to the HDB market, rents saw their sixth month of decline since August 2015, broken by the increase in January.

February rents overall are down by 3.7 per cent from a year and 9.1 per cent lower than their peak in August 2013, SRX data show.

HDB 3- and 5-room and executive flats posted 0.6 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 0.9 per cent declines in rents respectively. Rents for 4-room flats inched up by 0.1 per cent.

Rental volume also fell for HDB flats with an estimated 1,371 units leased in February, a 20.1 per cent fall from 1,715 in January. Year-on-year, rental volume in February was down 11.3 per cent from February 2015.