Condo prices down but landed home prices edge up

Prices of condominiums softened in the first quarter but resale prices of landed homes edged up in the same period, according to the latest estimates released by DTZ.

High-end condo prices fell 0.8 percent while values of freehold condominiums slipped 0.7 percent from the previous quarter. DTZ said this was mainly attributed to the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) implemented in early December.

It noted that competition from uncompleted projects was also a big factor, with an average of 2,200 units, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), being launched in the first two months of this year. In comparison, around 1,510 condo units were launched each month in 2011.

Despite the additional stamp duty imposed by the government, sales of non-landed homes in the primary market soared in the first quarter. Meanwhile, freehold landed homes in suburban areas recorded a price increase of 1.6 percent in Q1 while those located in prime districts 9, 10 and 11 inched up one percent during the period.

"The strong showing in the primary market was, however, not widespread, and was driven mainly by a few popular projects such as The Hillier, Watertown, Parc Rosewood and Guillemard Edge, which contributed to more than half of the sold units in January and February," said DTZ.

"These projects enjoy attractive locations near MRT stations and offer small affordable units which reflect the trend in the market of investors eager to park some of their money in property to earn better returns."

Primary sales (excluding ECs) hit an average of 2,143 units per month in Q1, up from a monthly average of 1,364 units in 2011.

"We expect a higher proportion of local buyers to dominate the market as foreigners take time to adjust to the new 10 percent buyer's stamp duty they now have to pay," said Chua Chor Hoon, Head of Asia-Pacific Research at DTZ.

However, she said that the popularity of uncompleted suburban projects is expected be healthy.

"If demand continues to remain strong at above 1,500 units a month, we do not preclude the possibility of further government cooling measures." Related Stories:Westvale Condo at Pasir Panjang up for sale

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