A cooling real estate market? Perhaps. But not by much. Of course, we do have to give the cooling measures time to work. But if we go by the response from the previous rounds, it may not do much. Although the pace has weakened somewhat, a 0.5 per cent growth as compared to the 1.8 per cent jump in the last quarter, private home prices still reached a record high.
Private non-landed suburban homes alone showed a 1.7 per cent rise, still a rise, but well lesser than the previous quarter’s 3.8 per cent. Property analysts are expecting further effect from the cooling measures to kick in this year, maintaining home prices at the current levels.
In the HDB flat market, resale flats may expect a fall in demand as singles will be allowed to purchase new Build-to-Order (BTO) flats directly from the Housing Board come July. The bumper crop of new flats being rolled out within the first 3 months of 2013 alone has also taken away the need to purchase from within the resale market. The quota plus the lowering of home loans to 30 per cent of a borrower’s gross monthly pay, 40 per cent if receiving a HDB home loan, has also taken some wind out of the sails. PropNex cheif executive Mohamed Ismail is however still expecting a rise in resale HDB flat prices, of between 4 to 5 per cent.
The Singapore Real Estate Exchange has reported a fall of HDB resale transactions from 4, 635 in Q4 of 2012 to 3, 028 in Q1 of 2013. The median COV prices have dropped by very slightly, from $34, 000 to $33, 000. This may not be quite the comfort buyers are hoping for, especially since resale prices have risen to an average of $457,000.
This could be the time to suss out potential long-term investments in the private property market as many developers are dangling carrots in the form of discounts, rebates and other incentives in order to secure more sales. Recent launches at D’Nest and Urban Vista have also boosted sales. The authorities seem more determined this year than ever to help tame the roaring property lion, but they will need to give property curbs some time to take effect before deciding their next move.