Breaking News: URA and HDB report property price surges in Q3 2020

HDB resale prices, according to the Resale Price Index (RPI), rose by 1.5% in Q3 2020 compared to a previous quarter, while the URA reported that private home prices rose by 0.8% over the same period as the property market surged past it’s previous 2019 high.

The URA price index in Q3 2020, 153.8, is marginally higher than the 153.6 in Q4 2019. After an 0.3% increase in private home prices in Q2 over Q1 2020, the 0.8% increase in prices in Q3 also marks the second consecutive quarter of price increase, since a 1.0% drop in Q1 2020.


Stark contrast in the performance of landed and suburban home prices, versus condos in the city

For private homes, the best performing segment belonged to landed properties, which recorded a 3.7% price increase in Q3 2020 after remaining unchanged in Q2.

Prices of non-landed private properties, on the other hand, collectively rose a marginal 0.1%, compared to a 0.4% increase in Q2.

For non-landed private properties, price performance was uneven between the three different market segments: the Core Central Region (CCR), the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and the Outside Central Region (OCR). RCR private properties performed the best, with a 2.7% increase in prices, followed by OCR private properties, which saw a 1.7% increase in prices.

Private property prices in the CCR, however, decreased by 3.8% in Q3 2020, reversing a 2.7% increase in the previous quarter. The CCR price index (129.5) now stands at pre-2018 levels, wherease the price index for the RCR (153.8) is a reversal of a three quarters of decline since Q3 2019 (155.4).

Notably, the OCR price index has reached an all-time high for the segment—at 180.4. URA’s full rundown of the price index for the various private property segments can be accessed here.

“The restriction on the reissue of OTPs is unlikely to put a significant dent on home prices,” said Christine Sun, Head of Research & Consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie. “Prices of homes may continue to stabilise, trending between a narrow range of between -1 and 1% for the full year of 2020.”

Ms Sun estimates that around 2000 to 2,500 new homes could be sold in the final quarter of this year. “Around 8,500 to 9,500 new homes could be sold this year, just below the 9,912 units sold in 2019.”

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Rental for condos in the city falls, but not for city fringe and surburban condos

The URA rental index, which tracks rental rates for non-landed private properties, also showed a deviation between CCR and non-prime segments.

Rental for CCR private properties fell by 2.1% in Q3 2020—a continuation of the 0.6% drop in the previous quarter. In contrast, rental in the RCR reversed a 1.9% decrease in the previous quarter with a 0.3% increase in Q3.

Rental for OCR private properties performed strongly, with a 1.0% increase in Q3 2020 after a 0.9% drop in the previous quarter. URA’s full rundown of the rental index for the various private property segments can be accessed here.


Transaction volume for private residential units reach a seven-year high

Including both uncompleted and resale transactions, a total of 3,487 private residential units (condominiums and apartments) changed hands in Q3 2020. This is the highest number of units transacted since 4,472 units changed hands in Q2 2013.

The seven-year high is partly driven by pent-up demand built up during the circuit breaker in Q2 2020. Sales of uncompleted condo units in the city fringe Rest of Central Region (RCR) reached an all-time high of 1,843 units sold, making up 53% of all units sold in Singapore.

best selling new launch condos in q3 2020


Developers also sold a total of 1,357 units in the OCR in Q3 2020, the highest since Q2 2019. URA’s full rundown of the number of private residential units sold by developers can be accessed here.

In the resale market, 3,467 private residential units changed hands, up from 933 units in the previous quarter. This figure is also the highest since additional cooling measures were implemented in Q3 2018. believes that, in addition to pent-up demand built up during the circuit breaker period, the high number of resale transactions were due to buyers with immediate or near-immediate housing needs choosing resale over uncompleted condos. Uncompleted condos may encounter delays in construction and uncertainty in completion dates due to Covid-19 manpower shortages and safe distancing measures.

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HDB resale price increase the highest in nearly eight years

Resale prices for HDB flats increased by 1.5% in Q3 2020, following an increase of 0.3% in the previous quarter. This is the highest percentage increase in HDB resale prices since Q4 2012, when prices increased by 2.5% in a single quarter.

The price increase for HDB resale flats may not be reflective of the entire market. “The increase in prices could possibly be attributed to many newer HDB resale flats being sold last quarter. As newer flats tend to command higher prices than older ones, the overall price index could have been uplifted by the newer flats,” said Ms Sun.

Volume-wise, as transactions that were previously held up by circuit breaker period took place, the number of HDB resale transactions more than doubled in Q3 2020, up from 3,426 units in the previous quarter to 7,787 units. This also marks a 24.3% increase in the number of resale transactions, compared to the same quarter last year.

“Some demand could have been drawn from the Build-To-Order (BTO) market. Many BTO flats from recent launches were slated to be completed in four to five years’ time and the long waiting period drove some buyers to the resale market, especially for couples with urgent accommodation needs,” said Ms Sun.

“Many BTO launches were also heavily oversubscribed and unsuccessful candidates had to turn to the resale market as an alternative,” she added.

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Meanwhile, there is a significant softening in the HDB rental market in terms of volume. The number of approved applications to rent out HDB flats fell by 22.2%, from 10,539 cases in Q2 2020 to 8,196 cases in Q3 2020.

Ms Sun cited that despite rental demand from returning Malaysian workers following the August reopening of the Singapore-Malaysia border,  a challenging employment climate and continuing travel restrictions may lead to “rental price weakness in the coming months”.


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