Singapore Home Prices Fall for Third Year Amid Government Curbs

  • Home prices fell 0.4% last quarter, yielding 3% yearly decline
  • Residential values have tumbled 11% from September 2013 peak

Singapore's Economy Grows More Than Forecast

Singapore home prices fell 3 percent in 2016, the third straight year of declines as the government held steadfast on property cooling measures.

An index tracking private residential prices fell 0.4 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 from the previous quarter, according to preliminary data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority released Tuesday. Prices fell for a 13th straight quarter, the longest streak since the data was first published in 1975.

The government has signaled it is reluctant to lift property tightening measures it started implementing seven years ago as it wants to avoid overheating the market again. Singapore doesn’t intend to ease property curbs anytime soon, the central bank’s Managing Director Ravi Menon said in September.

The existing stock of unsold homes may take three years to sell, according to Augustine Tan, president of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore. In addition to the oversupply, home vacancy rates are at the highest in more than 11 years, Tan said in September.

The residential curbs have included a cap on debt-repayment costs at 60 percent of a borrower’s monthly income, and higher stamp duties on home purchases, after low interest rates and demand from foreign buyers raised concern prices had risen too far too fast.

Home values have dropped 11 percent from their 2013 peak, and sales have declined to about half that year’s level.

Still, developers sold 7,769 homes through November, topping the sales tally of 7,440 units recorded in 2015. Sales for 2016 could rise to 8,000 units, according to CBRE Group Inc. Singapore remains a high-end housing market in Asia -- the city was ranked the region’s most expensive to buy a luxury home after Hong Kong, according to a 2016 Knight Frank wealth report.

Apartment prices in prime districts remained unchanged last quarter after falling 1.9 percent the previous quarter, the data showed. Suburban apartment prices slid 0.3 percent, while areas near prime districts declined 2 percent.

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