Straits Times: Thu, Mar 29
PRICES of private resale homes have fallen for the third month in a row with high-end and small flats recording the highest value drops.
Overall prices fell by 0.8 per cent last month, compared with January, and added to the 1 per cent dip in that month from December.
Prices of central homes fell by 0.9 per cent while those for non-central property declined 0.6 per cent following a 0.3 per cent pick-up in January.
Prices of shoebox apartments, which are around 500 sq ft or less, dipped by 0.9 per cent last month, according to the Singapore Residential Price Index compiled by the National University of Singapore's Institute of Real Estate Studies.
The monthly index measures a basket of completed private apartments and condominiums but excludes executive condos.
Property experts were not surprised at the fall in prices, given the weakened interest in the secondary market in recent months.
Mr Ong Kah Seng, director R'ST Research, said: 'The weakened leasing market is also a major deterrence for home seekers, especially investors whose main property-buying objective is to enjoy the benefits of a significant and encouraging immediate income stream.'
The weaker leasing market is partly due to companies cutting expatriates' housing allowances, he added.
'The variety of new launches have also drawn attention away from the secondary market,' said Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultancy.
He pointed out that buying new units may be easier on home owners' pockets as they will have the option of a progressive payment scheme, unlike resale properties which require an immediate payment upfront.
Mr Mak also attributed the dampened demand to recent property cooling measures.
Experts said prices are likely to continue falling in the coming months, although Mr Ong expects interest in resale properties to improve by the second half of the year, if there is 'appropriate re-pricing', which happens if demand keeps contracting.
For now, Mr Mak said it could gradually become a 'buyer's market'.
'With the current situation, they can look to drive a hard bargain,' he said.
Credo Real Estate executive director Ong Teck Hui added that it remains to be seen if prices will fall more such that buyers realise there are better deals in the secondary market instead of the primary one.
Source: The Straits Times