Private home prices up 2.7% in Q4, taking full-year rise to 6.7%

The fourth quarter of 2023 saw a 2.7% rise in the price of private residential properties in Singapore mainly due the sale of new launches with benchmark prices as well as low transaction volumes.

The price index grew by 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter. This is less than 8.6 percent in 2022 and 10.6 percent in 2021.

Tan Tee Khoon, PropertyGuru country manager for Singapore Tan Tee Khoon, PropertyGuru’s country manager for Singapore, said that the fluctuation in prices over 2023 could indicate that private property prices have more or less hit their peak.

Tricia Song is CBRE’s head of research in Singapore as well as South-east Asia. She said that the prices of private homes have been rising for the past seven years since the lowest was reached at the end of 2017. According to her, prices are up 32,3 percent over the low of Q1 2020.

A large portion of the rise in 2023’s prices was fueled by the market for non-landed homes in the suburbs that saw prices rise 13.8 percent over the year, said Song. Outside Central Region (OCR) price growth was much greater than those in the city fringe areas of the Rest of Central Region (RCR), which rose by 2.7 per cent and the most expensive Core Central Region (CCR) prices, which were 2.1 percent higher than the previous year.

Private condo prices in OCR were up 4.6 percent quarter-on-quarter (qoq) after a 5.5 percentage increase in the third quarter. The prices in the CCR increased by a bit less than the average of 4.2%. However, they recovered from the 2.7 percentage decline in the previous quarter.

Two launches in particular racked an unexpectedly high number of sales when they came on the market in the fourth quarter at cost-effective prices. CapitaLand’s J’Den in Jurong East sold 323 units at launch at an average price of S$2,451 per square foot (psf), while UOL and SingLand’s Watten House in Bukit Timah relocated 102 units with an average cost of S$3,230 psf.

Wong Xian Yang, Cushman and wakefield’s head research, said that the two projects accounted for about half of the new sales in each segment (OCR and CCR) during the fourth quarter of.

RCR prices decreased in value by 1.2 percent in Q4 compared to an increase of 2.1 percent in the previous quarter. Song noted that some current projects may have sold the remaining unsold units for discounted prices. This could cause a drop in the RCR Index. These include Liv @ MB at Mountbatten and Myra at Potong Pasir. One Pearl Bank Condo in Outram is also fully sold.

Lower sales volume during Q4 and throughout the entire year, as well in the slow price growth outside of the OCR increased buyer resistance to already high prices, according to analysts.

Cushman and Wakefield’s Wong said that the current prices for non-landed items are near their historical peaks as at Q4 2023. He said that compared to prices prior to the pandemic (Q4 2019), CCR RCR and OCR’s non-landed prices are rising by 11 percent 35 percent, 37 percent, and 40 percent, respectively.

While household balance sheets are healthy, “homebuyers have been and will continue to be cautious in their house buying decisions”, said Knight Frank head of research Leonard Tay.

Lee Sze Teck noted, however that Huttons’ senior director of data analysis Lee Sze Teck said the high sales during Q4’s launches proved “ample availability of local buyers” in the sense that foreign buyers had been avoiding the country due to the rise in Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) which was last April.

In the fourth quarter of 2004, Singaporeans as permanent residents, Singaporeans and foreigners made up 98.5 percent of the homeowners who bought homes privately.

According to caveats information at Jan. 2, 2024, the amount of foreign-owned purchases in Q4 2023 dropped from 271 in Q12020 when compared with 62 in Q4 2023. This is also the lowest since the first time that the government introduced ABSD in December of 2011, according to Lee.

The volume of transactions decreased throughout the year. According to the latest estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Tuesday, January 2, the total volume of sales transactions for homes that were private was 27 percent lower than the figures for Q3. This equated to 3,800 units.

This brings the total number to 18,510 units. This is down 15 per cent from the 21,890 units that were sold in 2022. It’s also the lowest annual sales transaction since 2016, as reported by URA. The figures include new sales, resales and subsales, and excludes executive condo units.

Landed properties saw a booming showing in the last quarter of the year. Prices for homes that are landed increased 4.5 per cent in Q4, reversing the 3.6 percent decline in the prior quarter. In 2023 as a whole the cost of landed homes was increasing by 7.8 percent, up from 9.6 percent in 2022.

Knight Frank’s Tay stated that the need for freehold landed properties remains “evergreen” and “the principal obstacle to successful deals will be the limited amount of inventory that is saleable”.

Ismail Gafoor is the chief executive chief executive officer of PropNex Realty. He said that the 4.5 percent price increase could be attributed to the slight rise in detached house transactions. The number of detached houses was 43 detached houses during the fourth quarter as opposed to 39 in the previous quarter. The average price for a detached home also increased by 16 percent, qoq up to S$1,714/square foot on the land. The report suggests that this could have helped to offset the lower prices of semi-detached houses and terraced houses.

Landed homeowners are also likely to offer higher prices, and they show no urgency to sell, said ERA’s chief executive officer Marcus Chu. More land transactions have failed because buyers and sellers have reached an impasse on pricing, he noted.

Analysts in the market are predicting price declines that could be in the range of 3 to 5 percent during the year ahead.

CBRE’s Song noted that the current prices will continue to deter consumers from purchasing. “With more supply the prices will slow further by 2024,” she said. But, the prices of homes are “unlikely to improve significantly because of the robust balance sheets as well as the lack of unsold inventory”.

Tay revealed that the new launch price is expected to be “elevated” due to construction costs and land already agreed to.

PropNex’s Gafoor believes developers will price units “more sensitively” in a bid to boost sales during the weekend of launch.

Tay mentioned that investors seeking capital preservation, appreciation and recurring income in both the local and foreign markets they are likely to steer clear “until the interest rates rise and stabilise, or even decrease, and until there is greater clarity regarding the outlook for the economy”.

He stated: “History has shown, however, that investors who are who are familiar with Singapore’s residential market are quick to respond to periods of low activity are followed by periods of increased activity.”

Source: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/property/private-home-prices-27-q4-taking-full-year-rise-67

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