By Romesh Navaratnarajah:

Latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) shows that private home prices declined marginally by 0.1 percent in Q1 2012 compared to the 0.2 percent rise seen in the last three months of 2011.

This marks the first quarterly decline since Q2 2009 when prices fell continuously for nine consecutive quarters.

In the Core Central Region (CCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR), non-landed home prices slipped by 0.6 percent, a notable contrast to the 0.5 and 0.1 percent rise seen in the previous quarter.

But the Outside Central Region (OCR) saw prices climb 1.1 percent, a little higher than the 0.6 percent hike in Q4 2011.

In terms of rentals, private residential properties recorded a weaker 0.3 percent growth compared to the previous quarter’s 0.4 percent rise.

Meanwhile, developers launched a total of 6,903 uncompleted private residential units in Q1 2012, up from the 4,105 last quarter, while units sold totalled 6,458 compared to the 3,525 homes sold in the previous quarter.

In addition, the URA noted that “take-up of shoe-box units (i.e. smaller than 50 sq m) accounted for 27 percent (or 1,764 units) of new sales in the quarter. Lower-priced units less than S$750,000 accounted for 42 percent (or 2,766 units) of new sales in Q1 2012, much higher than the 25 percent (or 911 units) seen last quarter.”

“Overall, many of these units are located in the suburbs, as 82 percent of the new units sold by developers were from OCR,” it added.

At the same time, resale transaction volumes declined to 1,906 units in Q1 2012, the lowest since Q1 2009 and shared just 21.8 percent of overall sales – a historic low since 1999 when such data was first collected.

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