Slower quarterly growth in Tembusu Grand prices in Q4 2022
While Tembusu Grand home prices have reached record highs, prices have started stabilising due to cooling measures, rising interest rates and economic uncertainties.
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Marginal price increase for private residential properties
URA’s real estate statistics for Q4 2022 revealed that private home prices rose by 0.4% last quarter, a marginal increase compared to the 3.8% increase in Q3.
Wong Siew Ying, Head of Research and Content at PropNex Realty, highlighted that the 0.4% increase is the slowest quarterly growth since Q2 2020 when prices rose 0.3%.
For the whole of last year, prices increased by 8.6%, lower than the 10.6% increase in 2021.
According to Christine Sun, Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, the price softening is in line with declining home prices in many countries such as Canada, Sweden, New Zealand and Britain. She also pointed out that prices of new homes in China fell the fastest in over seven years.
“Central banks worldwide have hiked interest rates to tame inflation. Many countries are pushing up borrowing costs to guide their economies towards a soft landing. Real estate will inevitably be affected as households tighten their belts, and rising interest rates hold back some potential buyers.”
At the same time, Sun explained that despite the rising interest rates in Singapore, most buyers can still service their loans as they are not overleveraged, given the stringent property curbs in place.
“Therefore, home values here are not facing as sharp a cooling as in many other countries.”
2.6% price drop in OCR condos, after a 7.5% increase in the previous quarter
Prices of non-landed properties increased the highest in the RCR at 3.1%, followed by CCR condos at 0.7%. Interestingly, non-landed OCR properties saw a price drop of 2.6%, after a 7.5% increase in Q3.
Wong attributed this to the lack of major new launches in the OCR in Q4, as several new launches, such as AMO Residence, Lentor Modern and Sky Eden@Bedok helped prop up the price growth in Q3.
Lee Sze Teck, Senior Director of Research at Huttons Asia, added that despite a benchmark median price of more than S$2,000 psf and rising interest rates, the strong sales in these new launches signaled buyers’ demand for private homes and their acceptance of the new price norm.
He explained, “The buoyant HDB resale market provided buyers with ample liquidity to upgrade. The rising interest rates did not put a damper on developers’ sales due to the nature of progressive payments. The first drawdown on loan is usually one year later when the foundation is completed and that amount at 5% of the purchase price is small.”
Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty, added that the price decline in Q4 was due to the lack of major new launches (excluding ECs), the depleting unsold stock, the year-end lull and cooling measures. Buyers who were unable to find a suitable unit in the primary market also turned to the resale market, where prices have been rising at a slower pace.
“The limited unsold new private home stock on the market was apparent as resale transactions accounted for more than 75% of the total sales (ex. EC) in Q4 2022 – the highest proportion on record since 2004.”
Meanwhile, Tricia Song, Head of Research Southeast Asia at CBRE, explained that homebuyers and developers largely adopted a wait-and-see approach in Q4 to ascertain the impact of the cooling measures.
Developers only launched 504 units in the quarter, 65.4% lower than the 1,455 units launched in Q3.
“Q4 2022 saw four smaller new project launches, Kovan Jewel (34 units) located in the OCR, Enchante (25 units), Hill House (72 units) and Sophia Regency (38 units) located in the CCR. Take-up was mostly lukewarm at these new launches, as home buying sentiment in Q4 2022 was dented by the worsening macroeconomic backdrop and high mortgage rates.”
Slower price growth for HDB resale flats
Likewise, HDB resale flat prices increased at a slower rate at 2.3% in Q4 2022, after 2.6% increase in Q3. Wong said that this represents the slowest quarterly price growth since Q3 2020.
Lee added that the impact of the 15-month wait for private property owners (PPO) buying HDB resale flats was felt immediately on the ground, “as quite a number of PPO are not able to obtain a waiver from HDB and had to cancel their purchase.”
“The cooling measures took some wind out of the sail for the HDB resale market. Transactions of HDB resale flats fell by more than 10% to 6,474 in 4Q 2022 from 7,546 in 3Q 2022.”
Citing HDB data from data.gov.sg, Sun emphasised that resale prices have moderated across most flat types and in many housing estates in the last quarter. 3-room and 4-room flats saw the highest price increase at 1.6%, while executive flats saw the biggest price decline at 0.9%.
She added that median prices at 10 out of 26 HDB towns decreased last quarter, with Serangoon seeing the highest quarterly price decline at 6.5%. On the other hand, Bukit Timah saw the highest price increase at 24%.
On a yearly basis, HDB resale prices were up 10.4%, less than the 12.7% increase in 2021.
Outlook for 2023
For the HDB resale market, Sun expects some price resistance in the coming year as prices have hit a record in many areas.
“Some buyers may also hesitate to pay too high prices for a flat when mortgage rates continue to climb.”
Given the uncertain economic conditions, cooling measures, rising interest rates and increased BTO supply, she expects HDB resale prices to increase slower at 5% to 8%.
Similarly, Wong predicts a 6% to 8% increase in resale prices.
Due to the cooling measures, Lee believes the number of million-dollar flat transactions will decrease to between 200 and 300 this year.
“Some buyers may also rethink paying a million dollars for an old HDB flat.”
As for the private residential market, Sun expects prices to grow slower between 5% to 8% this year.
Meanwhile, Wong predicts that overall price growth will be 5% to 6%.
For instance, Sceneca Residence, the first new launch of the year, sold 60% of its units on the launch day.
“The market had not seen a major launch since Sept 2022 and there was some uncertainty on the market direction in 2023. This strong result should dispel doubts about the strength of the market and set the tone for the upcoming launches in Feb and Mar 2023,” said Lee.
However, Song’s prediction is more conservative, stating that prices will increase 3% to 5% on the back of a weaker economic outlook.
At the same time, analysts expect continued interest from foreigners, especially as China’s borders have reopened.
In fact, according to Lee, there’s been an increase in enquiries and viewings by Chinese buyers over the last two weeks.
“Several units at Klimt Cairnhill and 3 Orchard By-The-Park are said to be sold to Chinese buyers over the last two weeks. The luxury segment of the property market will benefit from Chinese demand in 2023.”