Rents for private non-landed homes and HDB flats rise in December 2019 from a year ago

Overall condominium and private apartment rents rose 3.7 per cent in December 2019 from a year ago, while HDB rents increased 1.3 per cent.
Overall condominium and private apartment rents rose 3.7 per cent in December 2019 from a year ago, while HDB rents increased 1.3 per cent.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Non-landed private homes and Housing Board flats saw higher rents and more leasings last year,  according to flash data from real estate portal SRX Property on Wednesday (Jan 15).

Condominium and private apartment rents rose 3.7 per cent for the whole of 2019, although they dipped 0.9 per cent in December from the previous month.

Still, rents in December are 16.6 per cent below their peak in January 2013.

Year on year, private rents were up in all areas last month: The prime or core central region rose by 3.9 per cent, the city fringe or rest of central region by 4 per cent, and in the suburbs or outside central region by 3.1 per cent.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee and Tie, said the increase in private non-landed rental prices could be due to fewer units being available for rent.

"Last year, the number of completed homes fell for a third consecutive year, and it was about a third of what was completed in 2016," she said.

"Many homes were (also) demolished to make way for newer developments after the last collective sales cycle."

The number of apartments and condo units leased rose 2.3 per cent for the whole of 2019 to 58,236 homes. In December alone, 1.2 per cent more private non-landed units were rented than the year before.

Month on month, private rental volumes fell, with 4,011 units leased in December, a 2.8 per cent drop from 4,126 homes in November. Even so, last month's rental volume was 13.6 per cent higher than the five-year average volume for the month of December, SRX data showed.

Over in the public housing market, HDB rents in December last year rose 1.3 per cent from a year ago. December's rents also inched up by 0.1 per cent from November.

However, compared with their peak in August 2013, December's HDB rents are still down by 14.3 per cent.

SRX data showed that while three-room flat rents were down 0.3 per cent in December from a year ago, rents in other flat types rose: 2.1 per cent for four-room flats, 1.3 per cent for five-room units and 1.4 per cent for executive flats.

The higher rents came on the back of more flats rented, as the number of HDB flats leased for the whole of last year hit 23,958, 1.9 per cent higher than 2018.


For last month alone, HDB rental volumes fell 5.3 per cent compared with December 2018.

There was also a month-on-month fall in rental volumes, with 1,753 HDB flats rented in December, 8.6 per cent lower than the 1,917 units rented in November.

The rental volume in December was 2.4 per cent lower than the five-year average volume for the month.

Four-room flats were again most popular last month, making up 35.9 per cent of total rental volume, followed by three-room flats with 32.7 per cent. Five-room flats accounted for 25.2 per cent of units leased, and executive condominium flats 6.2 per cent.


Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty, said the lower rental volumes in December compared with November was typical of "the seasonal year-end lull period".

"(This) softened the rental transaction volumes marginally for both the private residential and HDB leasing markets last month, as some decision makers were away for the holidays," he said.

He said the number of units leased for both non-landed private units and HDB flats could rise between 1.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent by this December, if "the employment market remains healthy".

Around 24,500 HDB flats will reach the five-year minimum occupation period this year, while around 5,100 private residential units will be completed. "Some of these new housing units will be offered for lease," Mr Mak said.