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Thread: Private property prices, rents fall

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    Default Private property prices, rents fall

    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/...64740,00.html?

    Published October 25, 2008

    Private property prices, rents fall

    URA's private-home price index down 2.4% in Q3; industrial property prices, rents make gains

    By KALPANA RASHIWALA


    OFFICIAL data released yesterday confirmed that the private property market has started sliding backwards, while analysts tried to work out how much of its recent gains it would eventually give up.

    Price and rental indices for private homes, offices and shops fell in Q3 over the preceding quarter - for the first time since the market bottomed in 2004. Industrial property prices and rents still managed to register quarter-on-quarter gains in Q3, albeit at a slower pace than the increases reported in Q2.

    Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) price index for private homes declined 2.4 per cent in Q3 over the preceding quarter, more pronounced than the 1.8 per cent drop indicated in a flash estimate earlier this month.

    The Q3 private-home price index is still 8.3 per cent higher than a year ago, leading some analysts such as JPMorgan's Chris Gee to say the official price indices are lagging market expectations. 'If you wanted to close a condo sale today, you'd expect the price to be around 20-30 per cent lower than last year's peak.'

    Between the trough in Q1 2004 and the peak in Q2 this year, URA's price indices appreciated 68 per cent for offices, 58 per cent for private homes and 39 per cent for shop space. The question is how much of these gains will be surrendered during this downcycle and how long the slump will last.

    The optimistic view is that about half the gains could be lost in a downcycle lasting until end-2009.

    Some pessimists suggest the downturn will drag for around two to three years, and see prices easing back to the previous trough, that is, all the gains will be lost. 'Although the Singapore economy is much broader-based today than a few years ago, financial services was a key driver of recent economic growth and had a disproportionate impact on the high-end residential and prime office markets. So if the financial industry tanks, the impact will be greater on these two property segments,' said an analyst with a US bank.

    A property industry veteran said: 'This property slump will be much worse than the one during the Asian financial crisis; this time, we have a global crisis. We still don't know what the entire suite of knock-on effects will be. Right now, it's consumers lacking confidence. Failures may come from many other sources, some of which will be unexpected. The downtrend has begun and is not expected to reverse any time soon.'

    URA's data showed that developers sold 1,558 private homes in Q3, up 2.2 per cent from 1,525 units in Q2. The 3,845 private homes developers sold in the first nine months of this year are about a quarter of the 14,811 units they sold for the whole of last year.

    A property analyst pointed out that an even more alarming trend was the decline in resale transactions of private homes, which have slipped from a high of 7,776 units in Q2 2007 to 1,974 units in Q3 this year.

    'Resale transactions are sometimes seen as a proxy for the level of genuine demand, whereas the primary market tends to attract more investment/speculative demand and the subsale market is an even more direct proxy for the level of speculation,' the property analyst from the US bank said.

    The number of private-home subsales islandwide fell 10.8 per cent quarter on quarter to 462 in Q3. Subsales accounted for 11.6 per cent of total private housing transactions in Q3, down from a 12 per cent share in Q2.

    In the Core Central Region, subsales made up 24.1 per cent of total transactions in Q3, an increase from a 22 per cent share in Q3. The rising subsale share in the region was on the back of a 29 per cent drop in developer sales in Q3.

    Meanwhile, URA's Q3 price indices for non-landed private homes fell 2.7 per cent quarter on quarter in Core Central Region, 2.4 per cent in Rest of Central Region and 1.5 per cent in Outside Central Region (OCR).

    The official price indices for office and shop space declined 3.9 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively in Q3. The all-industrial property price index rose 0.9 per cent.

    The public housing market continued to buzz, with Housing & Development Board's resale flat price index rising 4.2 per cent quarter on quarter in Q3.

    Colliers International director Tay Huey Ying said that developers' sales failing to keep pace with launches led to a surge in the stock of launched but unsold private homes in uncompleted projects to 3,570 units in Q3, almost 30 per cent higher than Q2's 2,755 units and more than double the recent low of 1,658 units in Q2 2007.

    Knight Frank director Nicholas Mak expects the decline in private home prices and rentals to persist. 'With the slowdown in the private residential market, it is anticipated that developers could sell between 4,900 and 5,400 units in 2008, which would be only about one-third of the primary market sales last year,' he added.

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    http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime%2B...ry_294529.html

    October 25, 2008 Saturday

    Private home prices and rents down

    By Joyce Teo, Property Correspondent


    PRIVATE home prices in Singapore fell faster than expected in the third quarter as the global financial turmoil weighed heavily on already weakened market sentiment.

    The price slide is expected to continue into next year, property consultants said.

    But the HDB resale flat market continued to buck the trend, with prices rising 4.2 per cent in the third quarter following a 4.5 per cent rise in the second quarter.

    They have now surpassed the peak seen in the fourth quarter of 1996. But analysts expect this growth trend to slow as buyers turn cautious.

    Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data yesterday put the private home price dip at 2.4 per cent for the period ended Sept30, the first contraction after 17 straight quarters of growth.

    This compares with an initial estimate of a 1.8 per cent drop released by URA earlier this month. In the previous quarter, private home prices rose 0.2 per cent.

    The outlook is grim. Since the end of the third quarter, global markets have tumbled further and Singapore officially entered a technical recession. Buyers expecting a full-blown recession are set to become even more cautious, analysts say.

    Colliers International's director for research and advisory, Ms Tay Huey Ying, said the lower-than-expected third-quarter private home price figure indicates that sales recorded in the last two weeks of the quarter were done at lower prices.

    The price fall was led by luxury homes, as such properties in choice areas like Orchard Road and Sentosa Cove posted a 2.7 per cent fall after slipping just 0.1 per cent in the previous quarter.

    Prices of city-fringe homes dropped 2.4 per cent, compared with a 0.7 per cent rise in the the April-toJune period.

    Suburban homes, which showed the strongest growth of 0.9 per cent in the second quarter, fell 1.5 per cent in the third. Landed home prices, which inched up 0.6 per cent in the second quarter, fell 1.9 per cent.

    In a reversal from relentless rent increases of recent years, rentals of private homes fell by 0.9 per cent compared with a 2.5 per cent rise in the second quarter. Like home prices, the fall in rents was the first after 17 straight quarters of growth.

    Mass-market homes saw a bigger fall of 2.7 per cent in rents, compared with 0.7 per cent for coveted high-end homes and 0.5 per cent for city-fringe homes.

    The growing market caution was also reflected in resale and sub-sale deals. A total of 1,974 resale deals and 462 sub-sales were done in the third quarter, down from 2,291 resale deals and 518 sub-sales in the previous period.

    Given the worsening global financial climate, private homes prices are expected to continue slipping. 'The momentum of home sales will likely slow down due to either the increasing difficulty in obtaining loans or buyers' anticipation of further price cuts,' said CBRE Research's executive director Li Hiaw Ho.

    In the HDB market, resale transactions rose 4 per cent to 8,110 sales, amid continued buying from permanent residents and Singaporeans upgrading from a smaller flat or downgrading from a private home.

    While the sector is still strong, property experts are expecting slower price growth ahead as current resale prices have hit a new peak. With slower economic growth and possible job losses, buyers are likely to turn more cautious and exercise more prudence by offering less for the flats so as not to overstretch, said ERA Asia-Pacific's associate director Eugene Lim.

    On a brighter note, URA revised down its supply figures, dispelling the prospect of a private home oversupply.

    Its data also showed that office rents have slipped by 0.8 per cent, compared with 6.3 per cent growth in the second quarter.

    Shop rents also dipped 0.6 per cent islandwide in the third quarter, reversing a growth of 5.2 per cent in the second.

    Industrial rents rose, but at a slower pace.

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    http://www.todayonline.com/articles/283515.asp

    Weekend, October 25, 2008

    Rents get squeezed by credit crunch


    THE leasing market has become the latest casualty of Singapore’s weakening property market, with both residential and office rents posting their first declines since 2004 in the third quarter of this year.

    According to Urban Redevelopment Authority figures released yesterday, rentals of private residential properties fell 0.9 per cent in the third quarter, compared to a 2.5 per cent rise in the second quarter. Office rents declined 0.8 per cent, swinging from a 6.3 per cent rise in the previous quarter.

    Most analysts attributed falling residential rents to the double whammy of increased supply and weakening demand as the financial sector deals with the severe crisis.

    “Instead of increasing headcount, most multinationals are holding back and waiting, so fewer expatriates are coming in,” said ERA Asia Pacific’s assistant vice-president, Mr Eugene Lim. At the same time, developers are holding off developments of their enbloc sites due to the credit crunch and rising construction costs. They are instead renting out these units, resulting in a sudden surge in supply, added Mr Lim.

    Additional supply from completed projects will accelerate rental declines in the coming quarters, said Mr Colin Tan, Chesterton Suntec International’s research head. But this may not necessarily be a bad thing for Singapore. “On a country level, Singapore will now be more competitive, since rentals had started off on the high side,” he said.

    Meanwhile, HDB prices continued to show resilience amid the downturn, posting a 4.2-per-cent rise. That was a slight moderation from the 4.5-per-cent increase in the previous quarter, which PropNex chief Mohamed Ismail attributed to the overall drop in median cash-over-valuation (COV) to $19,000.

    “It’s interesting to note that the bigger drops in median COV were for five-room flats and executive flats. This is evidence of buyers resisting paying out larger COV for larger properties in this bleak economy,” he said.

    Still, Chesterton’s Mr Tan finds the 4.2-per-cent hike “extremely disturbing” as it bucks the trend amid deteriorating fundamentals. “It must mean that there is a real shortage of resale flats. This can happen when there are more downgraders than anticipated and secondly, few sellers are upgrading to the private market, because of its affordability.”

    Prices in the private residential property market fell 2.4 per cent, worse than the earlier flash estimates of 1.8 per cent.

    ERA’s Mr Lim noted that some investors hit by the recent stock market plunge have started to offload their properties in “fire sales” to raise cash, although any major price declines going forward depends on the extent of such scenarios and whether developers also start to lower prices.

    Overall, Knight Frank’s research head Nicholas Mak expects private residential prices this year to contract up to 3 per cent.

    Cheow Xin Yi

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