Resale prices, rents rise for private and public housing

Analysts expect buoyant Q3, but differ on how sharply prices might move

Published on Sep 08, 2012

By Esther Teo Property Reporter

RESALE home prices and rents have climbed across the board after a lull in July, according to data out yesterday.

The public and private segments both posted strong showings, and indicate that the third quarter might be a more buoyant one for the property market.

Private resale prices were up 4.5 per cent last month over July, said the Singapore Real Estate Exchange, which collates sales by major property agencies, accounting for about 85 per cent of resale transactions.

This puts the average resale prices in July and last month at $1,134 per sq ft (psf), 1.2 per cent more than $1,121 psf in the second quarter.

Condominium rents increased by 2.4 per cent in the same period.

The same positive sentiment was seen in public housing, with overall median Housing Board (HDB) prices increasing by 1.8 per cent to a record $448,000.

The sale of an executive maisonette in Queenstown for a record $1 million, with a cash-over-valuation of $195,000, is in the works.

Median monthly HDB rents gained 4.3 per cent to $2,400, after holding steady at $2,300 in the last four quarters.

Experts say that interest in the resale market has returned as potential buyers scout for alternatives in the light of sky-high prices at developer launches. Some of these new launches have also lifted the prices of resale homes in surrounding estates.

But they hold varying views on how sharply prices might move this quarter.

Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong said the property market is "still pretty buoyant", with last month seeing more activity than July despite the start of the Hungry Ghost Festival.

He expects prices to gain about 1.5 per cent in the three months to Sept 30 as expensive new launches pull up values of resale homes nearby. They might rise a further 2 per cent to 3 per cent in the fourth quarter, he said.

"Buying interest is strong, and with new launches like eCO (in Bedok South Avenue 3) priced at about $1,250 psf getting good interest, this will lift all boats, and prices in the resale sector will follow," Mr Cheong said.

OrangeTee head of research and consultancy Tan Kok Keong said third quarter prices might increase by 2 per cent to 3 per cent as sentiment improves on the back of the "improving big picture". There was more clarity in the euro zone crisis, while the improving stock market is increasing confidence in the property sector, he said.

But ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim expects prices to rise by just under 1 per cent this quarter, dampened slightly by the Hungry Ghost Festival. "Things are moving, but the market is not buoyant. Don't expect prices to run away," he said.

Private home prices were mostly flat in the first six months this year, while HDB resale prices gained 1.9 per cent, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

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