Q1 2020 private residential property prices fell giving back almost half of the 2.7% gain recorded in the full year 2019
Private residential property prices in Singapore fell in Q1 2020, after rising for three straight quarters, due to the coronavirus impact on the economy. Flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday (1 Apr) showed that private residential property prices fell by 1.2% quarter-on-quarter (QOQ) in Q1 2020, giving back almost half of the 2.7% gain recorded in the full year 2019.
Q1 2020 private residential property prices are now 1.4% above the most recent peak in Q3 2018 and 1.8% below its all-time peak in Q3 2013.
Based on caveats downloaded on 1 April 2020, developers sold 2,032 new homes in Q1 2020 – down by 16.8% QOQ (2,443 in Q4 2019) but up 10.6% year-on-year (YOY) (1,838 in Q1 2019). Meanwhile, secondary transactions stood at 1,632 units in Q1 2020, down 33.0% QOQ (from 2,435 in Q4 2019) and down by 14.3% YOY (from 1,905 in Q1 2019).
Price analysis of Q1 2020 private residential property prices by regions
The price decline in Q1 2020 was across the board, led by the landed segment (down 1.7% QOQ), while non-landed residential segment fell 1.0% QOQ, driven by the Core Central Region (CCR) which fell by 1.5% QOQ; Outside Central Region (OCR) where prices fell by 1.0% QOQ and Rest of Central Region (RCR) fell the least by 0.5% QOQ.
Q1 2020 private residential property prices in Core Central Region (CCR)
According to URA’s data, prices in the CCR declined 1.5% in Q1 from the previous quarter, after falling 2.8% QOQ in Q4 2019. This brought CCR home values to 4.1% below its recent peak in Q3 2018 and 6.4% below its all-time peak in Q1 2013.
A closer look at the transactions during the quarter suggests that the decrease in Q1 non-landed CCR prices could be due to selected launches sold at perceived discounts:
- The M, newly launched in February and the best-selling project in Q1 2020, sold 389 units in Q1 at a median price of S$2,438 psf, compared to nearby Midtown Bay which sold 38 units at a median price of S$2,934 psf in Q4 2019;
- The Enclave at Holland, a 26-unit project launched since July 2018, sold 14 units in Q1 at a median price of S$1,851 psf, compared to earlier units sold at S$2,500 – S$2,600 psf.
Q1 2020 private residential property prices in Rest of Central Region (RCR)
Home values in RCR were fairly stable, falling 0.5% QOQ in Q1, after declining 1.3% in Q4. This brought RCR home prices to 1.9% below the peak of 155.6 seen in Q2 2013.
Due to lack of new project launches in RCR, new sales were mainly from earlier launches projects which were substantially sold, such as Parc Esta, Stirling Residences and Jadescape.
Q1 2020 private residential property prices in Outside Central Region (OCR)
Non-landed home values in OCR fell 1.0% QOQ in Q1, following the 2.8% increase in Q4 2019.
Colliers International commenting on the Q1 2020 private residential property prices said that it believes the decline in OCR prices was mainly due to the high base in Q4 2019, on the good reception of Sengkang Grand Residences, which sold 226 units at a median price of S$1,742psf. It sold just 11 units in Q1 2020, at a median price of S$1,734psf.
Meanwhile, some earlier launches such as Treasure at Tampines and Florence Residences continued their progressive takeup.
- Treasure at Tampines moved 195 units at S$1,363 psf in Q1, compared to 156 units at S$1,375 psf in Q4;
- Florence Residences sold 55 units at a median price of S$1,496 psf, compared to 56 units at S$1,499 psf in Q4 2019.
Ms Tricia Song, Colliers International’s Head of Research for Singapore, commenting on the Q1 2020 private residential property prices said:
“Transactions have tapered off sharply in March from a strong February, as the effects of the COVID-19 are starting to reverberate through the economy and hurt sentiment. Based on caveats downloaded on 1 April 2020, developers sold 528 new homes (excluding ECs) in March 2020, down sharply from the 947 units in February. Secondary transactions were also down, at 328 units in March, from 436 units in February.
Based on advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on 26 March, Singapore’s Q1 GDP contracted by -2.2% YOY and -10.6% QOQ (seasonally adjusted annualized). MTI forecast Singapore to head into its first recession in two decades, putting 2020 growth in the range of -4% to -1%. MAS has warned of job losses and slower wage growth as recession looms. Job security is one of the key drivers for home purchases.
With home prices highly correlated to household income and the economy, we expect private residential prices could decline 1-3% in 2020, in line with the economic contraction.
The projected decline in 2020 will be the first year of decline since 2016 (-3.1%). We do not think prices will fall as much as the 25% over Q2 2008 to Q2 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) as there were rampant speculation and loose credit prior to the GFC.
The nine rounds of property cooling measures in 2009-2018 have reined in speculation and price increases over the past three years were more sustainable, in our opinion. We also believe there is room for the government to ease or unwind earlier measures, which should lend some support to prices. That said, much depends on the length and extent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We now expect developers’ sales may fall to 8,000 units for the full 2020, compared to the 9,912 units in 2019.”
Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE‘s Head of Research for Southeast Asia, commenting on the Q1 2020 private residential property prices said:
“Moving forward, we expect developers to be more flexible in their pricing expectations in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, especially when showflats would have to take into consideration the limitations behind the enhanced social distancing measures. Already, MTI has projected a GDP forecast of -1% to -4% for 2020, signalling that the economy may enter into a recession this year.
While we expect demand for housing to remain, current economic sentiments may put some buyers’ decision on the hold. Among all regions, the CCR might see larger adjustments due to the high inventory of project launches for sale, and the slowdown of Chinese home buyers. For these reasons, CBRE Research believes that the residential property price index could correct by 5% to 8% in 2020 amidst slower economic growth.”