Landed property prices rose 6.7% quarter-on-quarter, while non-landed property prices increased 2.5%.
Singapore’s property market continued to be bullish in the first quarter of 2021, with private residential property prices increasing 3.3% quarter-on-quarter, showed Urban Redevelopment Authority data on Friday (23 April).
The hike marks the fourth quarterly increase and is the steepest growth rate since Q2 2018.
Dr Tan Tee Khoon, Country Manager, PropertyGuru Singapore, said landed property prices, which rose 6.7% quarter-on-quarter, primarily contributed to the increase.
Non-landed property prices also increased 2.5% in Q1 2021, albeit a bit slower than the 3% hike posted in Q4 2020.
The Rest of Central Region (RCR) registered the biggest increase, with non-landed property prices rising 6.1% in Q1 2021.
“This is significant, especially considering that the region already saw a 4.4% quarter-on-quarter increase in the previous quarter,” said Dr Tan, adding that the growth is likely driven by the robust sales in Normanton Park and The Reef at King’s Dock, both of which were newly launched in Q1 2021.
Non-landed property prices in the Outside Central Region (OCR) expanded 1.1%, while the Core Central Region (CCR) saw prices increase 0.5% in Q1 2021.
A total of 3,716 uncompleted private residential units, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), were launched by developers in Q1 2021, higher than the 3,147 units put up for sale in the previous quarter.
With these, developers sold 3,493 private homes, excluding ECs, in Q1 2021, compared with the 2,603 units shifted in Q4 2020.
Resale volumes of private residential properties also increased to 4,519 units during the period under review, from 4,249 units in Q4 2020.
Christine Sun, Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, noted that foreign buyers seem to be returning to Singapore’s property market.
Non-permanent residents (non-PRs) acquired 281 non-landed homes, excluding ECs, in Q1 2021, up from the 199 units sold in Q4 2020.
“This is also the highest volume inked since Q4 2019 when 284 units were sold then. In terms of proportion, the percentage of non-landed homes bought by non-PRs rose to 4.1% in Q1 2021, from 3.3% in Q4 2020 and 3.6% in Q3 2020,” said Sun.
The number of non-landed homes purchased by permanent residents (PRs) also rose 28.2% quarter-on-quarter to 1,118 units in Q1 2021 from 872 units in Q4 2020.
With this, the proportion of non-landed homes acquired by PRs rose to 16.4% in Q1 2021 from 14.4% in the preceding quarter.
Mainland Chinese (Non-PRs and PRs) continued to be the top foreign buyers in Singapore, acquiring 339 non-landed homes during the period under review. Malaysians came in second, followed by buyers from India.
Meanwhile, Dr Tan believes the buying frenzy seen in Q1 2021 is likely fuelled by HDB upgraders and not by the low interest rate environment.
“The government has been urging property seekers to exercise caution amid the current low-interest-rate environment. While easy access to affordable credit may be attractive to home buyers, it is unlikely to be the root cause of the current market vibrancy,” he said.
This comes as the Total Debt Servicing Ratio, which uses a higher interest rate of 3.5% for computation, prevails.
He said the robust demand is likely fuelled by the self-feeding ecosystem, which begins with HDB flat upgraders whose homes have recently fulfilled the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).
“These HDB upgraders may move to the HDB resale market in search of larger properties or to the private market of entry-level condominiums. This explanation would account for the rapid growth in HDB resale prices (3.0% quarter-on-quarter growth in Q1 2021), as well as the strong sales of condos in the $1 million to $1.5 million price range.”
With this, Dr Tan expects the government to tighten property curbs in the second half of 2021.
“The previous round of property curbs was implemented in H2 2018, on the back of four quarters of price growth. This time, we observe a similar trend,” he said.
“So, the government may tighten measures targeted at investors who own multiple properties, such as increasing the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty or reverting the Seller’s Stamp Duty holding period to four years.”
He also expects the government to tighten the loan-to-value limit, which is presently capped at 75% for first-time homebuyers taking a bank loan.
This move could potentially price first-time home buyers out of the private property market since a “reduction of a few percentage points could translate to tens of thousands more required in down payment”.
Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org