Tuesday April 3, 2012
First S’pore home prices drop in three years
SINGAPORE: Singapore's private home prices suffered their first quarterly drop in nearly three years as government measures to cool the property market begin to bite at the high end.
According to advance estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday, private home prices fell 0.1% in January-March from the last three months of 2011. It was the first decline since the second quarter of 2009.
Prices of non-landed private residential properties in the core central region fell by 0.9%, reflecting weakness in the high end of the property market. The mass market remained healthy as prices of apartments outside the central region rose by 1.2% from the preceding quarter.
“I don't think this decline is sufficient to say policies put in place have worked as the sheer volume of sales warrants some concerns,” said Wilson Liew, an analyst at Maybank Kim Eng.
He said the fall in private home prices was partly due to most of the launches in the first quarter being cheaper mass market projects. Liew expected prices to soften further towards the end of the year.
Singapore is trying to cool home prices amid fears of a property bubble and public discontent over soaring prices.
The government last introduced measures to curb residential property prices in December, including a requirement that foreigners who are not permanent residents pay an additional stamp duty equal to 10% of the property value.
But while prices have softened at the high end of the market, transaction volumes remain healthy, especially in the mass market.
Property blue chips reacted calmly to the news, with South-East Asia's biggest developer, CapitaLand, slipping 0.3%. Reuters