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SINGAPORE RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MARKET UPDATE Q1 2020

1 五月 2020

Introduction

Private home prices in Singapore in the first quarter fell 1.2% from the previous quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, according to flash estimates released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

This reverses the 0.5% increase seen in the October to December period, and is also the first quarterly decline after three consecutive quarterly increases. The private residential property index decreased by 1.8 points from 153.6 points in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 151.8 points in the first quarter of 2020.

Private home prices are now 1.4% above the most recent peak in Q3 2018 and 1.8% below its all-time peak in Q3 2013.

Based on advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on 26 March, Singapore’s Q1 GDP contracted by -2.2% YOY and -10.6% QOQ (seasonally adjusted annualized). MTI forecast Singapore to head into its first recession in two decades, putting 2020 growth in the range of -4% to -1%. MAS has warned of job losses and slower wage growth as recession looms. Job security is one of the key drivers for home purchases.

Based on caveats downloaded on 1 April 2020, developers sold 2,032 new homes in Q1 2020 – down by 16.8% QOQ (2,443 in Q4 2019) but up 10.6% year-on-year (YOY) (1,838 in Q1 2019).

Transactions have tapered off sharply in March from a strong February, as the effects of the COVID-19 are starting to reverberate through the economy and hurt sentiment.

Figure 1: New Sales’ average selling price per square foot for the month (excluding EC Projects)

Price Trend

The fall in prices was sharpest for landed properties with landed property prices falling 1.7% compared to a 1% fall in prices for non-landed residential properties QOQ.

The URA also said that prices of landed properties fell 1.7% in the first quarter of this year, after rising 3.6% in the fourth quarter of last year.

Prices of non-landed private residential properties in the Core Central Region (CCR) decreased by 1.5%, compared to the 2.8% decrease in the previous quarter.

Prices in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) decreased by 0.5%, compared to the 1.3% decrease in the previous quarter. Prices in Outside Central Region (OCR) decreased by 1.0%, compared to the 2.8% increase in the previous quarter

Figure 2: Private Residential Property Price Indices

Rental  Trend

Rentals saw a reversal in trend after eight consecutive quarters of growth with the rental index falling 1.0% from 105.6 to 104.5.

The decrease in rental was led by the landed property index which saw a decline of 1.6% as compared to a fall of 0.9% for non-landed residential property rental.

 

Figure 3: Private Residential Property Rental Indices

Sales Volume (developers’ sales)

In the latest URA sales data, developers sold a total of 618 units (excluding ECs) in January. This figure is the highest January sales since 2013. Sales were also 14.9% higher compared to December 2019, and 41.3% higher compared to January 2019.

Posting the second-strongest February sales performance in eight years, developers moved 975 private homes – up 57.3% from the 620 units they sold the month before, driven by competitively-priced new projects.

Based on caveats downloaded on 1 April 2020, developers sold 528 new homes (excluding ECs) in March 2020, down sharply from the 947 units in February.

 Core Central Region (CCR)

The proportion of sales in the luxury segment or Core Central Region (CCR) rose to its highest level since January 2019 (29.8 %) at 21.5%. On a month-on-month basis, the overall volume of CCR transactions increased by 60.2%.

The higher luxury sales proportion could be attributed to more high-end projects launched in January, including the 376-unit The Avenir, 638-unit Leedon Green and 69-unit Van Holland, which collectively sold 74 units in January.

Rest of Central Region (RCR)

Home values in RCR were fairly stable. Due to lack of new project launches in RCR, new sales were mainly from earlier launches projects which were substantially sold, such as Parc Esta, Stirling Residences and Jadescape.

Outside Central Region (OCR)

Outside Central region accounted for 36.6% of January sales after RCR.  Decline in prices could have been on account of a good base in Q4 2019 on account of the good reception of Sengkang Grand Residences which sold 226 units at a median price of SGD 1,742 psf.

Figure 4: Private residential new project launches (excluding EC projects)

The overall take-up rate of private residential units (excluding EC), as measured by the sales-to-launch ratio has been steadily increasing with demand for homes on the rise since Q2 2019. February 2020 was the fifth consecutive month that the take-up rate exceeded 100% reflecting healthy buying demand.

Transactions have tapered off sharply in March from a strong February, as the effects of the COVID-19 are starting to reverberate through the economy and hurt sentiment.

Figure 5: Number of private units launched and sold (monthly) and take-up rate

Performance of ZACD Projects – Jadescape & Le Quest

The performance of Le Quest Condo at Bukit Batok, launched in August 2017 has been quite successful compared to recent launches with almost 53% of units sold on the first day of launch and with take up reaching 90% by the end of Q1 2020.

Jadescape in Shunfu Road was the the top-selling project for January 2020, with 56 units sold at a median price of SGD 1,690 psf. The project has had a very successful quarter with 164 units sold in Q1 2020 as per caveats lodged on 1st April 2020.

Jadescape & Le Quest

Outlook

As the disease spreads in Singapore, private residential sentiments “will be more cautious” with selective buying (but “not pessimistic sentiments”) setting in until the middle of the year, according to property analyst Ong Kah Seng.

The effects of this pandemic will be felt in the various sectors of the Singapore economy, as well as the economies of Singapore’s major trading partners in Asia. Furthermore, the situation is still very fluid, with new developments every day. This would increase the difficulties to predict the impact of this pandemic on the Singapore real estate market.

A key determinant is the duration of the pandemic. If it could be brought under control within the next three to four months, the negative impact will be short-lived and the market recovery will start in the quarter after the end of the outbreak. Some savvy homebuyers may take this opportunity to pick up some properties, especially when the market condition is at its bleakest.

Colliers research predicts that the projected decline in 2020 will be the first year of decline since 2016 (-3.1%). prices will fall as much as the 25% over Q2 2008 to Q2 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) as there were rampant speculation and loose credit prior to the GFC.

The nine rounds of property cooling measures in 2009-2018 have reined in speculation and price increases over the past three years were more sustainable.

It is now expected that developers’ sales may fall to 8,000 units for the full 2020, compared to the 9,912 units in 2019. However much depends on the length and extent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

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