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Q2 property prices up on suburban condo sales
Cooling measures seemed to have hit luxury segment instead, say analysts
By: Melissa Tan
RED-HOT demand for suburban homes helped drive up overall property prices in the second quarter.
Values across the market were up 0.8 per cent in the three months to June 30, following a 0.6 per cent rise in the previous quarter.
The unexpectedly strong increase may have been behind Friday's measures to rein in mortgage lending.
Analysts said the flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) released yesterday suggest that January's tough cooling measures have hit the luxury segment rather than the suburban market.
Prices for mass-market suburban apartments jumped 3 per cent from the preceding quarter - more than twice the 1.4 per cent increase recorded in the three months to March 31 compared with the final three months of last year.
"Pricing for suburban homes has continued to be optimistic with demand remaining firm in spite of an array of cooling measures being in place," said Jones Lang LaSalle national director Ong Teck Hui.
CBRE executive director for residential Joseph Tan said suburban homes accounted for 60 per cent of total transactions in the second quarter.
This was largely a "function of the number of projects with good connectivity that were released by developers in recent months", such as Jade Residences, Midtown Residences and Jewel@Buangkok, Mr Tan said.
City-centre home prices went in the opposite direction, sliding 0.2 per cent in the second quarter after growing 0.6 per cent in the first. Prices in the city fringe rose 0.2 per cent in the second quarter, the same increase recorded in the first three months of the year.
Analysts said suburban homes likely appealed to buyers because they were cheaper.
"With affordability being a key consideration, especially after the imposition of the additional measures in January, buyers continued to be drawn to the relatively more affordable mass-market homes," said PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail.
Colliers International research director Chia Siew Chuin said demand was also boosted by buyers who had been acquiring their second or subsequent property in their child's name to avoid paying the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD).
However, this practice looks likely to end after the Monetary Authority of Singapore moved on Friday to plug the loophole. A standardised total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework for banks to assess a person's ability to borrow has also been established.
Mr Ong said the rise in overall private property prices suggested that "the risk of further intervention in the residential market remains high".
"The effect of the TDSR will be closely monitored and if the market does not moderate sufficiently, further cooling measures may be expected.
It also sends the signal that notwithstanding tapering of liquidity and eventual interest rate increase, the residential property market will still be tightly managed," he added.