Private housing prices are likely to rise further in 2018, say analysts.

Experts discuss the outlook for the residential market in Singapore.

By Romesh Navaratnarajah

With around 10,000 completed private homes and up to 22 major new launches expected next year, 2018 is shaping up as the year to watch for Singapore’s property market. Recent reports have also predicted an 8.0 to 10 percent rise in property prices in the near future. 

Renewed confidence amongst developers, surging en bloc activity and rising land costs also point to a more robust market next year. This issue, we asked seven property experts to give us their predictions for 2018.

  1. Dr Lee Nai Jia

Dr Lee Nai Jia Dr Lee Nai JiaHead of Research, Edmund Tie & Company

“We anticipate 2018 to be a fruitful year for the property market, with residential prices expected to increase further. However, there are concerns over the external environment and potential government intervention that may cause the market to remain subdued. While interest rate hikes are a concern, we anticipate the increase will have little impact in 2018 due to the low base.

“Separately, the government has signalled that it will monitor the market closely, after the Monetary Authority of Singapore cautioned about over-exuberance in the market. While this will dampen sentiments slightly, there is much demand in the market. The demand comes from investors and buyers on the sidelines following the implementation of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio framework and from buyers who sold their units via collective sales.”

  1. Sigrid G. Zialcita

Managing Director, Research, Asia Pacific, Cushman & Wakefield

“After close to four years in the wilderness, Singapore will see a revival of its housing market, with prices expected to rise by 6.0 to 8.0 percent across the board in 2018. While we are likely past the trough, it is not too late. However, investors need to ensure they can cope with the measured rise in interest rates as well as the current weak rental market. So that means having a reasonable investment horizon.

“That said, properties in the Core Central Region are expected to see the strongest uptick. Supply in this segment is traditionally more constrained and having borne the brunt of the price decline, is undervalued and thus offers more bang for the buck.”

  1. Ismail Gafoor

CEO of PropNex Realty

“2017 witnessed a rebound in consumer confidence in the real estate market. Data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority as of Q3 2017 shows the private property segment enjoyed record transaction volume as well as growth in the price index after 15 quarters of price decline since Q4 2013.

“Looking ahead in 2018, we expect the positive sentiment to continue, especially with many successful en bloc deals in 2017. The real estate market will be further spurred with greater activities as many owners of en bloc developments with cash proceeds will now look at purchasing resale or new launch properties as their new homes. In terms of price, we can also expect new benchmark prices as many developers have paid very high prices during the land and collective sale bids.

“2018 is set to be a positive year for Singapore’s real estate market, with demand streaming in not only locally but also from abroad as Singapore still stands out as a city worth investing in due to its stable environment and long-term returns on investment.”

  1. Alice Tan

Head of Consultancy & Research, Knight Frank Singapore

“The collective sales fever has gained rapid traction in Singapore since May 2017, with a total of 25 deals achieving a total of over $7.9 billion in sales value. The property developers’ hunger to replenish their land bank amid the record low unsold inventory this year of below 17,500 units for the past two quarters, has further contributed to the wave of investment sales at higher than expected prices.

“The prospect of a continuing price recovery of private residential properties in Singapore, fuelled by high land bid prices, could gradually erase the past price decline of 11 percent over four years that the government has tried to achieve. We foresee that the price increase of private homes could range between 3.0 and 7.0 percent year-on-year by Q4 2018.”

  1. Tricia Song

Head of Research, Singapore, Colliers International

“The positive momentum witnessed in the private residential market in 2017 should continue into 2018, barring any unexpected external shocks or domestic policy changes. The nascent recovery in the property market – marked by brisk new home sales, recovering home prices and fervent land banking by developers – is supported by more positive market sentiment amid the brighter economic outlook.

“For 2018, we expect overall private home prices to rise by about 5.0 percent, with new home sales potentially hitting 12,600 units, an increase of 15 to 20 percent from our projection of 10,500 to 11,000 units for 2017.

“Taking a long-term view, investors can potentially consider homes in the prime districts. We think the luxury homes segment is poised for a rebound after a 20 percent drop in prices since June 2013. Homes with attractive locational attributes such as proximity to transport nodes, good schools and amenities will also continue to do well.”

  1. Tony Lombardo

CEO Asia, Lendlease

“We expect the current buoyant sentiment for the property market to spill over to 2018, against the backdrop of an improving economic outlook and property market sentiment, as well as pent-up demand. We are optimistic that genuine buyers are no longer adopting a “wait-and-see” approach, and are prepared to enter the property market in 2018 for a strong product offering.

“Buyers are also increasingly discerning and are attracted to quality projects that offer long-term investment potential – especially those with seamless connectivity, design, and access to a wide range of amenities and facilities. This is evident in the overwhelming sales response for the phase one launch of Park Place Residences at Paya Lebar Quarter in early 2017.”

  1. Eugene Huang

Founder and Director, Redbrick Mortgage

“Banks in Singapore waged a mortgage war in 2017, initiating stiff competition between the financial institutions in terms of loan acquisitions. The en bloc frenzy that kicked off in May indicates that there is a cluster of homeowners who would be looking to purchase new properties.

“As a result of the collective sales activities, a slew of new stock is expected in 2018. With new launches and more buyers in the market, property prices are likely to go up as well, together with a larger demand for mortgages.

“As the U.S. Federal Reserve rates are still on the rise, mortgage rates for 2018 in Singapore should also see northwards trajectory.”

  The PropertyGuru News & Views   This article was first published in the print version PropertyGuru News & Views. Download PDFs of full print issues or read more stories now!