Private home prices up 7.9% across the board

From Straits Times – July 3, 2007

“Second-quarter rise highest since 1999; spillover seen in HDB resale prices

By Joyce Teo

PRIVATE home prices have shot up across the board with everything from luxury condos to humble suburban homes reaping the benefits.

Figures out yesterday – still just estimates at this stage – for the April-June period show that private property is on a dramatic upswing with plenty of momentum.

Prices rose 7.9 per cent – the biggest jump since the third quarter in 1999, when the market staged a brief recovery before sliding into a lengthy slump.

The increase comes on top of a 4.8-per-cent rise in the first three months this year.

‘We are clearly in the middle of a property boom now and the growth is escalating,’ said Knight Frank head of research Nicholas Mak.

The central core region, scene of some eye-catching condo launches and collective sales, turned in another solid performance, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday.

Prices of non-landed private homes in the core zone – it includes districts 9, 10, 11, downtown and Sentosa – rose 7.6 per cent in the second quarter, compared with a 5.5-per-cent rise in the first.

But for all this area’s golden glow, the figures that stood out were from areas outside the central core. Non-landed homes in the rest of the central region – this includes areas like Toa Payoh – saw prices leap 7.9 per cent, well up on the 3.7-per-cent increase in the first quarter.

Rises were even more impressive outside of central, where non-landed home prices surged 6.5 per cent in the second quarter, trumping the anaemic 2-per-cent effort in the first.

There was occasional panic buying as some feared they could miss bargains, said agents.

Yet despite the positive numbers, private home prices are still about 18.8 per cent below the 1996 peak.

The positive sentiment has also spilled over to HDB resales, where prices rose 2.85 per cent – again, the highest growth since the third quarter of 1999 – and up from a 1.25-per-cent rise in the first.

‘We’re seeing a broad-based recovery plus a tiny spurt from the HDB side,’ said Savills Singapore marketing director Ku Swee Yong. The climb in the high-end market, where prices have hit $5,100 psf, is likely to be sustained, he said.

Property experts are looking at a 20- to 25-per-cent rise for private homes for the whole year. They said the strong collective sales market – with about 30 to 40 more estates waiting to hit the market in the next year – will keep demand for suburban and HDB flats chugging along.

PropNex chief executive officer Mohamed Ismail expects HDB prices will clock up a 10-per-cent rise this year.

The URA statement yesterday also touched an issue vexing many – is the market overheating and should some cold water be thrown over it?

It said the Government would continue to monitor the market ‘very closely’ and ensure there is sufficient supply to meet demand.

Many residential sites have been released in Government land sales (GLS) programmes with more earmarked for next year if there is a need.

The URA said the good stock of private housing and more GLS sites in the pipeline means supply should keep up.

Or as Mr Mak puts it, there is no need to rush in.


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