SINGAPORE: Prices of private homes in Singapore swung higher in the second quarter from the previous three months, government data showed on Monday, reversing a short—lived decline in the last quarter.
Preliminary data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed private—residential prices rising 0.4% in the April—June quarter from the previous quarter. Home prices had eased 0.1% in the first quarter in the first decline since the second quarter of 2009.
URA said prices of non—landed private residential properties increased by 0.6 per cent in the core central region in Q2 this year, compared to a decrease of 0.6 per cent in the previous quarter.
There was no change in the prices for private homes in the rest of central region.
Prices of private homes outside the central region increased at a slower pace of 0.4 per cent in Q2, compared to an increase of 1.1 per cent in the previous quarter.
The flash estimates are based on figures from the first ten weeks of the quarter. Full results will be released in a month’s time.
Meanwhile HDB’s flash estimates showed that resale prices rose by 1.3 per cent in the second quarter of this year, reversing a trend of slow price growth in the previous two quarters.
HDB resale prices have been softening since the second half of last year. Prices grew 3.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2011. This growth moderated further to 1.7 per cent in the last quarter of last year and 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.
HDB will release the resale price index for the full Q2 later this month.
As for the volumes of transactions in the second quarter, data from local property firm ERA shows the number of resale flats moved rose 8 per cent while that for private houses surged a whopping 69 per cent.
Market watchers said one reason for the rise in resale flats transactions is a moderation in the cash premiums buyers have to pay, commonly known as Cash—Over—Valuation (COV).
Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty, said: "COVs have come down to what we call a comfortable level for home buyers, so instead of waiting for three years for a BTO flat, a lot of them have come back to look at the resale market."
HDB said it is committed to offer 25,000 new flats under its Build—To—Order (BTO) scheme in 2012.
But analysts said this is not affecting resale flat prices because most of the BTOs are still being built.
Senior vice—president of local property firm PropNex, Lim Yong Hock, said: "There’s still a wait, so the impact won’t come in so soon. The impact will probably come in in about one to two years’ time, when most of the BTOs are ready, and there’ll be more resale units in the market. Currently there’s still a shortfall of supply in the resale market."
In the first half of this year, HDB had offered 12,703 flats under BTO exercises, and 3,825 flats under a Sale of Balance Flats exercise.
For July 2012, HDB will be offering about 5,200 new flats for sale — in Bedok, Bukit Merah, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Geylang and Punggol.
Analysts said low interest rates will continue to fuel demand for properties in Singapore.
On the other hand, high inflation is also boosting demand, as owning a piece of real estate is seen as a good hedge against inflation.
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