The average price of a private home in Singapore rebounded in the third quarter, recording a 0.5 percent uptick compared to the preceding three month period, despite a 15 percent drop in the quantity of homes sold and a barrage of new projects entering the market, according to government estimates released on Monday.
The preliminary residential price index for the July through September period published by Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed private home prices rebounding gently from a 0.2 percent quarterly decline from April through June and demonstrating unexpected resilience in the face of rising interest rates and a bulging project pipeline.
“The rise in private home prices in 3Q23, which followed soon after just one quarter of dip, came as a surprise in the light of prevailing weaker market sentiment that was exacerbated by the introduction of more prohibitive cooling measures in April,” said Chia Siew Chuin head of residential research at JLL Singapore.
Despite the upward movement last quarter, analysts expect a cooler market going forward, with Chia adding that, “While prices are still on an upward trajectory, the measures appear to have been effective in moderating the pace of price increase, as well as investment and foreign buyer demand with a decline in transaction volume.”
Housing Costs Rise Fastest in Suburbs
The 0.5 percent increase in average prices for private homes last quarter was well behind the 2.1 percent jump logged in the same period last year, and home prices have now climbed by 3.8 percent in the first nine months of this year, well off the 8.2 percent pace set in the same period of 2022.
The softening price growth correlates with the 15 percent plunge in home sales, with 4,569 units changing hands from July through September, compared to the 5,388 private homes sold in the second quarter, despite a flurry of new condo projects launched during the most recent period.
“The growth momentum in private home prices has slowed substantially in recent quarters, indicating the heightened sense of caution as developers, buyers and sellers parse market data to assess the impact of the cooling measures on housing demand, and as buyers take a watch-and-wait approach on their property purchase amid more plentiful supply of new homes in the last few months,” said Ismail Gafoor, chief executive of PropNex Realty.
Last quarter’s price uptick was led by a 2.1 percent increase in average prices for non-landed homes, which reversed a 0.6 percent dip in the second quarter.
Comprising apartments and condominiums, prices for non-landed homes rose most steeply in the suburbs, known locally as the outside central region (OCR) with prices growing by 5.1 percent last quarter from a 1.2 percent uptick in the preceding three months.
PropNex said that the four condo projects launched in the OCR last quarter – Lentor Hills Residences, The Arden, The Lakegarden Residences, and The Myst – led sales in the region.
Condo prices in urban-fringe areas, or the rest of central region (RCR), also rebounded with a 2.3 percent increase in the third quarter versus a 2.5 percent dip in the prior three months, with three projects launched in the area during the period.
With the 78-unit Orchard Sophia project standing as the only project launched In the city centre last quarter, home prices continued to slide in the city’s prime districts, falling by 2.6 percent to extend the 0.1 percent dip in the preceding three months.
The half-year decline in the area known in URA taxonomy as the Core Central Region (CCR) comes after the Singapore government in April levied a 100 percent hike in additional buyer’s stamp duty on purchases by non-residents with many foreign buyers traditionally targeting the prime districts.
Pulling down average prices across the city last quarter was a marked slide in rates for landed homes, including terrace houses, semi-detached homes, bungalows and shophouses.
Costs of landed residences fell 4.9 percent last quarter after climbing 1.1 percent from April through June, posting their first quarterly decline in more than two years. Compared to 2022, prices in the segment are still up by 1.8 percent.
As developers prepare to launch at least two major condos projects in the coming three months price growth is expected to remain muted as weak market sentiment continues to let buyers pick their deals and developers hold out against deeper discounting.
“More buyers are leaning towards a wait-and-see approach to gain clarity on whether price momentum can be sustained,” said Lam Chern Woon, research and consulting head at Edmund Tie. Lam also pointed out that the third quarter market performance raises questions about the future direction of pricing.
“The juxtaposition of a gradual price increase and a decline in transaction volume in 3Q 2023, does raise doubts about the sustainability of price increases in this cycle. We expect a subdued pricing momentum for the quarters ahead,” Lam said.
After home prices rose 8.6 percent last year, Edmund Tie expects average price growth for the full year of 2023 to hover around 3 to 4 percent, while PropNex predicts around 4 to 5 percent growth.