Private home and resale flat prices have continued to climb for the fifth straight quarter, as demand for properties continued to be strong in Q2 2021 despite the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures.
Singapore’s housing market has continued to remain resilient amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with private home prices and HDB resale prices registering their fifth consecutive quarterly increase.
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data showed that private home prices rose 0.8% in Q2 2021. However, the pace of increase was more moderate compared to the 3.3% hike posted in Q1 2021.
Overall, prices in the Outside Central Region (OCR) recorded the steepest increase, growing by 1.9%, followed by the Core Central Region (CCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR) at 1.1% and 0.1%, respectively.
The OCR is the largest driver of prices, likely due to the performance of Executive Condominiums (Provence Residence, Parc Central Residences and Ola) and Treasure at Tampines, which has consistently been in the top 10 best-selling projects list since its launch in 2019.
Dr Tan Tee Khoon, Country Manager – Singapore for PropertyGuru shares that The Treasure at Tampines is also the most affordable project in the primary private property market, which is hugely appealing, especially to the many HDB upgraders.
“There is still a strong demand for affordable entry-level condos, likely fuelled by the market of HDB upgraders whose flats recently fulfilled their Minimum Occupation Period in 2020 and 2021.
This demand for affordable entry-level condos aligns with the trends observed in previous quarters, where the most popular price range is S$1,000,000 to S$1,500,000. Further, our latest Consumer Sentiment Study in H1 2021 reflected a dip in housing affordability perceptions, where our Affordability Rating dropped by 5 points.”
Huttons Asia also noted that private home prices “have appreciated by 7.1% since the Circuit Breaker in Q2 2020, 19.7% from the bottom in Q2 2017 and are now 5.8% above the previous peak in Q3 2013”.
“After a strong run-up prices in Q1 2021, some landed homeowners raised their asking prices, putting themselves out of reach for some buyers and resulting in a pullback in prices in Q2 2021,” Huttons added.
Meanwhile, landed property prices dipped 0.3% in Q2 2021, after increasing 6.7% in the previous quarter. Non-landed property prices, on the other hand, climbed 1.1%, after growing 2.5% in Q1 2021.
A total of 8,449 private homes, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), were sold in Q2 2021, up 4.3% from the 8,100 units shifted in the preceding quarter.
Specifically, new home sales declined 15.1% to 2,966 units in Q2 2021, while resale transactions grew 18% to 5,333 units.
Huttons Asia CEO Mark Yip said resale transactions made up 63.1% of the total transactions volume due to fewer new launches in Q2 2021.
“Demand for properties was strong in Q2 2021 despite Phase 2 (Heightened Alert),” he said, adding that desire “for a safe haven during the pandemic and investing in properties to beat inflation” are some of the reasons behind the demand.
Meanwhile, rental volume, excluding ECs, marginally dipped 0.4% to 23,536 private homes during the period under review from 23,622 units in Q1 2021.
“The recent tightening of border controls and viewing restrictions during Singapore’s Heightened Alert period was a setback to the rental market recovery,” said Christine Sun, Vice President of Research and Analytics at OrangeTee and Tie.
With the available stock remaining limited and the supply of new homes is hampered by construction delays, the supply crunch led to higher rents.
URA data showed that rents rose 2.9% in Q2 2021, a steeper hike compared to the 2.2% increase seen in the previous quarter.
Over at the HDB resale market, prices increased 3% quarter-on-quarter and 11% year-on-year. For the first half of 2021, resale prices grew 6%.
“HDB resale prices have appreciated by 11% from the circuit breaker in Q2 2020, 11.9% from the bottom in Q2 2019 and are now 2% below the previous peak in Q2 2013,” said Huttons.
Given the pace of price increase, Sun expects resale prices to reach a new high by H2 2021.
“The strong price gains reflect robust demand for flats as buyers shift their focus away from new flats which are experiencing delays in completion. It may also indicate that more buyers are asking for higher prices which may result in more instances of cash over valuation (COV),” said Yip.
In Q2 2021, HDB resale volume slipped 6.8% to 7,063 units in Q2 2021 from 7,581 units in Q1 2021.
Analysts attributed the drop in sales to stricter measures enforced during the Heightened Alert period in May to June. The refusal of some sellers to budge on their asking prices also slowed transactions, said Yip.
“Despite the slight pullback in sales, buyer demand is still strong since the sales volume in Q2 is higher than the pre-pandemic level,” said Sun.
The average quarter sales stood at 5,929 units in 2019 and at 6,187 units in 2020.
Sun believes the strong demand and home supply shortage could keep resale prices elevated over the coming months.
Suggested read: 9 Resale Condominiums Under 1.5 Million to Buy for HDB Upgraders
With the “supply-demand imbalance” persisting this year, flat prices may be pushed higher in the coming months, she said.
“Construction delays are expected for many BTO projects and many young couples with urgent housing needs may continue to turn to the resale market, although the supply lag may begin to ease next year when construction activities continue to pick up,” added Sun.
However, Tan does not think we should expect new cooling measures due to the moderate price increase in Q2 2021.
“We can attribute this growth to the unprecedented number of HDB flats reaching their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) in 2020 and 2021. In this case, the market would likely self-correct once the number of ‘MOP flats’ go back to normal in 2022.”
“Additionally, given the growing COVID-19 clusters, the government’s priority is to tighten safe management measures and increase the vaccination rate in our population rather than to deal a cocktail of property curbs to shake up the residential market.”
Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org