• Slowing economy may weigh on prices in coming months
  • Rents remain high despite second quarter of declines

Singapore home prices grew at a slower pace last quarter and rents fell, as the city-state’s property boom began to lose steam.

Prices for private residences rose 1.4% from the previous three months, according to final figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Friday. That compares with a preliminary estimate of 1.5% and a 2.8% increase in the last quarter of 2023.

Private rents slid 1.9%. That comes after a 2.1% drop in the previous quarter, the first decline in more than three years.

Home prices have climbed for three straight quarters even as high interest rates and government cooling measures hurt demand, particularly from foreigners looking to buy luxury properties. A slowing economy may weigh on the market in coming months.

“The pace of residential price increases is expected to slow this year largely in line with the feeling of general job insecurity,” said Alan Cheong, executive director of research for Singapore at Savills Plc. He predicts that prices will remain flat overall this year, while private rents will fall 5%, in part due to a greater supply of completed housing.

Other segments of the property market are also showing signs of softening, with the price of office space in Singapore’s central area, as well as retail and office rents, seeing quarterly declines, according to URA data.

The government has been ramping up the supply of land available for development to cope with a sharp rise in rents and home prices during the pandemic, which has led to unhappiness among expats and locals alike. Despite two consecutive quarters of declines, the private home rental index is still up nearly 50% from four years ago.

Authorities have been pointing to the slowdown in price increases to allay concerns about housing affordability ahead of a general election that has to be held by 2025.

Other analysts have also called time on the rally in home prices, with Morgan Stanley predicting a 3% drop in private residential valuations in 2024. Bloomberg Intelligence expects prices to remain flat this year with risks of a decline.

In a sign of waning sentiment, a private residential project sold just three out of 59 of its units put on the market last weekend. Meanwhile, prices at high-end condominiums are being slashed. A firm linked to major developer City Developments Ltd. sold 65 luxury units at a project on the island enclave of Sentosa after offering discounts of over 40%.

Written by:  @Bloomberg

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