Great boost to market sentiments

SINGAPORE — Private home prices in Singapore fell further in the first three months of the year, extending the longest losing streak on record to 14 straight quarters, with analysts forecasting the downtrend to continue but at a slower pace as sentiment improves.

The private residential property index fell 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the January-to-March period, the same pace of decline registered in the previous three months, flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed yesterday. From the peak in the third quarter of 2013, private home prices have fallen 11.7 per cent. Upcoming executive condo launches include Hundred Palms Residences ECYio Chu Kang EC, Inz Residence EC, Anchorvale Lane EC,  while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone EC, The Vales EC, Parc Life EC , Sol Acres EC, The Visionaire, Bellewoods EC, Signature at Yishun, The Criterion EC and NorthwaveHundred Palms Residences details and Hundred Palms EC show flat will be available shortly.

“The consistent drop of 0.5 per cent in the two quarters signifies the consolidation in the property market.

“The recent adjustments to cooling measures, though not significant, is a great boost in terms of market sentiment,” said PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor, who added that the price decline is expected to slow to 2 per cent for the whole of this year from 3.1 per cent last year.

Last month, the Government eased property cooling measures, with adjustments made to the seller’s stamp duties (SSD) and the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework.

Homeowners now have to wait three years instead of four before selling their properties to avoid paying the SSD, which was reduced by four percentage points for each tier.

The TDSR will also no longer be applied to mortgage equity withdrawal loans with loan-to-value ratios of 50 per cent and below.

However, the Government also introduced an Additional Conveyance Duty (ACD) on the indirect buying and selling of residential properties through corporate vehicles, closing a loophole that had allowed buyers to avoid paying stamp duties by purchasing shares in a holding firm instead of the property directly.

“The new ACD, which came into effect on March 11, 2017, has also created more supply in this region, which could lead to some price adjustments in the Core Central Region (CCR),” Mr Ismail said.

The first-quarter price decline was led by the landed segment, where home prices slipped 2.8 per cent from the previous quarter.

Home prices in the non-landed segment were unchanged, with the CCR registering a 0.2 per cent decline; the Rest of Central Region (RCR), or city fringes, showing a flat performance; and the Outside Central Region (OCR), or suburbs, chalking up a 0.1 per cent rise.

Meanwhile, resale Housing and Development Board (HDB) prices slipped 0.6 per cent in the first quarter from the previous three months, bringing the decline from the peak in 2013 to 10.4 per cent.

However, Mr Ismail said there is typically less activity in the first quarter, due to the Chinese New Year holidays and February being a shorter month.

“2017 will probably see a price movement of about minus 1 to plus 1 per cent, with volume exceeding 22,000 units,” he predicted.

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