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Property curbs bring down resales in June

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The property resale market saw a significant drop in both private and public transactions as effects of the cooling measures finally kicked in.

According to the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), some 605 condominium units changed hands in June, a 21 per cent drop from May's figure.

This also represents a drop of about 38 per cent compared with the previous year's figure of 981 transactions.

This is despite resale prices inching up 1.8 per cent in June, boosted by gains in the Core Central Region (CCR).

According to the flash report, prices in the CCR - which includes the traditional prime districts 9, 10 and 11, as well as the financial district and Sentosa Cove - rose 5.5 per cent, while prices in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) rose 0.5 per cent. Mass-market homes saw prices dip 0.2 per cent.

On a quarterly basis, an estimated total of 2,024 homes changed hands in Q2. While this is a slight increase over Q1's 1,930 units, this volume represents a 42 per cent drop from 3,509 units in Q2 of 2012.

Resale volume in the first six months of the year, estimated to be about 3,954 units, is about 30 per cent lower than the 5,675 transactions seen a year ago.

Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty Network, said he expects resale transaction volumes to decline moderately over the following quarters given that about 16,742 private homes are projected to receive their Temporary Occupation Permit this year.

"Buyers are more interested in new sales as they are newer and they are buying for investment and capital appreciation," he said. "Many sellers of resale properties are still holding their price as they are not under pressure to reduce prices - holding costs are low and tenants are still readily available."

Combined with the successive rounds of cooling measures and the fact that pent-up demand is gradually being met, demand is anticipated to slow down, said Mr Lim.

Housing & Development Board (HDB) resale transactions also plunged last month. According to SRX's flash estimates, some 1,210 HDB flats were sold in the resale market in June, approximately 9 per cent less than May's 1,324 resale cases, and about 32 per cent less than that of June 2012's 1,790 transactions.

In the first half of 2013, there were an estimated total of 7,555 HDB flats transacted in the resale market, an approximate drop of 31 per cent from the 10,890 flats transacted in the same period a year earlier, said SRX.

June also saw overall HDB cash-over-valuation (COV) dropping $3,000 to end at $24,000. This is the lowest monthly COV since February 2011 when overall COV was $22,000.

HDB resale prices slipped 0.1 per cent in June, marking the second consecutive marginal monthly drop in resale prices.

"From July, there are restrictions on the use of CPF funds for the purchase of HDB flats with short remaining leases. This is likely to impact the prices of older HDB resale flats in the months to come," said ERA's Mr Lim. "Going forward, we are likely to see the HDB resale market moderate in terms of pricing and transaction volume."

Credit from Business Times - 6 July 2013
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