By Grace Leong
The Straits Times/ANN
The 0.8 per cent gain in the third quarter of 2020 was unchanged from URA's flash estimate released on Oct 1.
It comes after a 0.3 per cent increase in the second quarter of this year and a 1 per cent drop in the first quarter, the first quarterly decline in a year.
This means private home prices have edged up 0.1 per cent to date this year.
The price increase was driven by landed homes and a burst of buying in the city fringes and suburbs after the two-month circuit breaker ended on June 1, said Ms Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie's head of research & consultancy.
“Many long-term investors and wealthy buyers are on the prowl for properties as many are repositioning their wealth from riskier assets,” Ms Sun said.
According to URA's final data, the total number of residential transactions excluding ECs spiked by 164.5 per cent from 2,664 units in the second quarter to 7,047 units in Q3, she noted.
Developers sold 3,517 units (excluding executive condominums or ECs), up 105 per cent from the 1,713 units taken up in the second quarter. They launched 3,791 units (excluding ECs), compared with 1,852 units in the previous quarter.
Ms Sun noted that: “Investor exuberance for real estate properties seemed to have spilt over from the primary market to the secondary market."
The resale market registered a steeper quarter-on-quarter increase of 271.6 per cent from 933 units to 3,467 units in Q3. Resale homes also accounted for a bigger proportion of total sales at 49.2 per cent, when compared to 35.0 per cent in the preceding quarter, Ms Sun said.
For the third quarter, prices of non-landed properties rose 0.1 per cent from the previous three months, compared with the 0.4 per cent increase in the previous quarter.
Analysts said that although a Covid-19 recession has hit Singapore, with aviation and tourism worst off, other segments of the economy like technology, precision manufacturing, healthcare and biomed are holding up. Those not affected may still have the confidence to buy, they said.
Further, in the years preceding the pandemic, private home price increases have been somewhat marginal, due largely to the slew of cooling measures. This is unlike the years preceding the global financial crisis, where there was a sharper increase in prices and therefore a sharper correction following the crisis, said analysts.
Giving a breakdown by region, the URA said that prices of non-landed properties in the prime or core central region fell 3.8 per cent in Q3, compared with the 2.7 per cent drop in the previous quarter. Prices of non-landed properties in the city fringe or rest of central region jumped 2.5 per cent, compared with the 1.7 per cent fall in the previous quarter.
Prices in the suburbs or outside central region jumped 1.7 per cent, compared with the 0.1 per cent gain in the previous quarter.
The URA also said that prices of landed properties jumped 3.7 per cent in the third quarter this year, after remaining unchanged in the second quarter.
Unlike prices, rents of private residential properties continued to weaken in the third quarter. Rents dipped 0.5 per cent from the previous three months, easing from a drop of 1.2 per cent in the second quarter.
Just like in the second quarter, developers did not launch any EC units for sale in the third quarter, and sold 164 EC units in the quarter. In comparison, they sold 71 EC units in the previous quarter.
As at the end of Q3, there was a total supply of 50,369 uncompleted private residential units (excluding ECs) in the pipeline with planning approvals, compared with 49,090 units in the previous quarter.
Of this number, 26,483 units or more than half remained unsold as at the end of Q3, compared with the 27,977 units in the previous quarter.
After adding the supply of 4,104 EC units in the pipeline, there were 54,473 units in the pipeline with planning approvals. Of the EC units in the pipeline, 2,244 remain unsold.
In total, 28,727 units with planning approvals (including ECs) remain unsold, down from 29,876 units in the previous quarter.