Is Singapore’s housing market on the road to recovery?

Fuelled by redevelopment deals and an increase in foreign buying, UOB Kay Hian expects home prices in Singapore to bottom out this year and climb by five to 10 percent in 2018...

Recent tweaks to the property cooling measures may be helping to stimulate market activity, say analysts. 

The recovery in Singapore’s residential property market appears to be gathering pace following a protracted downtrend, according to a CNBC report.

The inflection point in prices is expected to come “very soon”, said Cushman & Wakefield’s Managing Director for Asia Pacific Research, Sigrid Zialcita, in CNBC’s “The Rundown” recently.

This reversal was brought about by the government’s relaxation of some of its property cooling measures, which improved market sentiment. “We’ve seen an increase in foot traffic and it’s incentivising a lot of buyers,” she noted.

Other experts also believe that the reduction on the seller’s stamp duty and the lower minimum holding period may be helping to stimulate market activity.

For instance, PropertyGuru’s CEO Hari Krishnan revealed that the number of property listings on its website increased two percent in Q1 2017 on an annual basis, followed by a 2.4 percent gain in March.

“These increases could be indicative of an uplift in seller sentiment,” he said.

Citigroup analysts, in a recent note, also underscored the sudden “sentiment uplift” after the government relaxed some of its property curbs. However, they feel that the “exuberance” might be exaggerated.

They explained that it would be more logical for would-be buyers to wait for more significant policy easing, or for larger discounts from developers racing against the deadline to sell their residential units. However, Singapore buyers tend to jump back into the market at the first sign of easing, lest they lose the opportunity.

While it is “impossible” to determine the actual effect of the policy easing, the analysts noted that one indication of better sentiment is the strong interest seen at the 429-unit Park Place Residences, which sold 50 percent of its units in just one day.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg