Property News 28 – 31 Dec 2015

31 Dec 2015: ‘Too early’ to lift property curbs: Lawrence Wong

The property market is “on track for a soft landing”, but it is still not time to unwind cooling measures, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

“Resale prices have softened gradually to 2011 levels, and more than half of resale flats are now transacting close to their market value,” he wrote in a blog post yesterday.

When asked if this meant some of the property cooling measures could be lifted, however, Mr Wong maintained it was still “too early” to unwind any of them.

The measures, many introduced in 2013 to keep the lid on a simmering housing market, include a lower mortgage servicing ratio limit of 30 per cent,which caps the proportion of gross income that can be used to service a loan for an HDB flat.

Mr Wong added, however, that the Government would continue to monitor factors such as interest rates and economic growth, and make adjustments when necessary.


Resale prices have softened gradually to 2011 levels, and more than half of resale flats are now transacting close to their market value.


He told reporters during a visit to Build-To-Order (BTO) project Tampines Greenlace: “What we’ve seen in recent months is that resale prices have stabilised.”

Resale prices for Housing Board flats have been on the decline in recent years, due in part to the measures.

Since their peak in the second quarter of 2013, prices have fallen about 10 per cent, according to the HDB’s Resale Price Index.

But the decline has been slowing down in recent months, leading some property experts to believe that the market might be on the brink of a rebound.

Others like SLP International Property Consultants research head Nicholas Mak believe that next year’s prices will remain “rather stagnant”.

He said conditions such as the cooling measures, increased new flat supply and impending interest rate hike will continue to dampen the market.

Referring to yesterday’s announcement that the BTO flat supply would be raised to 18,000 units next year, he added: “The increase in BTO flat supply will also reduce the demand for resale flats.”

But ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said the supply boost is unlikely to diminish resale prices as the market is “behaving rationally” now.

He pointed out that many buyers would still choose resale flats as they do not want to wait years for new units to be built.

Mr Wong yesterday also said the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, which helps tenants in public rental flats own homes again, is shaping up.

Describing it as an “inclusive” policy that ensures more Singaporeans can own homes, he said: “We are starting to tweak and design the parameters of the scheme, and we’ll be putting up more details of that early next year.”


29 Dec 2015: Tougher times ahead for housing market

Analysts expect Singapore’s private housing market to face tougher times next year, with the lacklustre economic environment dampening sentiment further, reported TODAYonline.

The US Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates and the existing property curbs could see prices drop by up to eight percent in the next 12 months.

JLL’s National Director for Research and Consultancy Ong Teck Hui, said: “Higher interest rates coupled with cooling measures will dampen demand, perpetuate sluggish market conditions and softening in prices … In 2016, it is expected to fall by at least the same pace or faster if economic conditions worsen.”

The five to eight percent price moderation forecasted by analysts for 2016 is faster than the expected drop this year. Data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) shows that private home prices dropped 3.2 percent during the first nine months of 2015, and is expected to end the year at around five percent lower than 2014’s level, noted analysts.

Some property developers may also come under pressure to clear inventory next year as their respective deadlines to avoid paying extension fees and stamp duties near. To move units, analysts believe that these developers may be forced to slash prices, potentially improving next year’s sales volume.

Notably, an Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) of 15 percent will be imposed on developers, unless they build, complete and sell all the units in their project within five years from the date of land acquisition.

Developers with foreign holdings and not building on land sold by the government are also subject to Qualifying Certificate conditions that require them to complete construction in five years and sell all the units in two years.

“There could potentially be more transaction activity in 2016 … (But) this could be at the expense of prices. We anticipate sales only being achieved for the motivated sellers who are prepared to be realistic on price,” said Colliers International, without providing a sales projection for 2016.

Other analysts expect developers to sell between 7,000 and 8,000 units in 2016, which appears to be an increase from 2015’s sales, but still a far cry from 2012’s 22,000 transactions.

Pending this year’s final URA statistics, which is due in January 2016, developers have sold about 5,800 units during the first nine months of 2015. With this, analysts expect sales to reach around 7,000 units this year.


28 Dec 2015: Resale prices of condo units resume decline, with 0.6% dip in November: NUS index

SINGAPORE – Overall prices of completed condominium and apartment units reversed course and dropped 0.6 per cent in November from the previous month, with shoebox units hit with a bigger 1.2 per cent price decline, according to Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) flash estimates released on Monday (Dec 28).

The turnaround comes after a modest recovery when overall prices edged up 0.3 per cent in September and 0.1 per cent in October, after five straight months of decline.

In October, prices for shoebox units – up to 506 square feet – dipped 0.4 per cent month-on-month based on SRPI’s revised index values for that month. The index is compiled by the National University of Singapore’s Institute of Real Estate Studies.

The SRPI for the central region (excluding small units) slipped 0.8 per cent month on month in November, contrasting with a 0.5 per cent increase for October.

The central region comprises Districts 1-4 (including the financial district and Sentosa Cove) and the traditional prime residential districts of 9, 10 and 11.

Prices outside these prime areas (excluding small units) declined 0.4 per cent last month after dipping 0.3 per cent in October.



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