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Q4 resale prices of private homes up 6.6%

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Resale prices of non-landed private residences grew at a faster pace last year despite a fall in transaction volumes from the year before.

Buyers paid an average of $1,233 per square foot (psf) in the fourth quarter of 2012, the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) said yesterday. That was 6.6 per cent higher than the third quarter's $1,157 psf.

That means prices rose 13.4 per cent last year compared with the previous year, and outpaced the 10.4 per cent growth in 2011.

This was despite fewer units changing hands. About 12,500 private non-landed homes were sold in 2012, down 7 per cent from 2011.

SRX put the drop down to the introduction of the additional buyer's stamp duty in late 2011, which led to a slump in the first half of 2012 even as sales picked up strongly afterwards.

The fourth quarter's figures reflected the trend for the full year.

Resale prices rose across all the regions. The Outside Central Region (OCR) saw the biggest increase of 4.8 per cent. The Core Central Region (CCR) followed with 4.6 per cent, while the Rest of Central Region (RCR) was up by 3.6 per cent.

CCR's higher-than-expected growth came down to its December performance, which pushed up the final figures.

"The strong growth is partly attributed to a possible record breaking price paid for residential land by Hong Kong's Swire Properties in Hampton Court en bloc," SRX said.

The Business Times previously reported that Swire's purchase - thought to be worth $155 million - is believed to have set a new unit land price for residential land of $2,526 psf per plot ratio.

Meanwhile, transaction volumes fell 5.5 per cent in the fourth quarter from Q3, a "seasonal drop", SRX noted.

As for the rental market for non-landed private homes, rates softened in the fourth quarter of last year, falling one per cent to $3.91 psf from the previous quarter. This dragged rental yield down to 3.8 per cent, from 4.1 per cent in Q3.

Analysts expect a moderation in growth for the resale private non-landed home market in 2013.
On the public housing front, there was little sign of relief from a bouyant resale market.

SRX said the median cash- over-valuation (COV) for resale Housing and Development Board (HDB) homes rose to $34,000 in the last three months of 2012, up $4,000 from Q3. As a result, the median price for an HDB resale flat hit a new high of $455,000, 1.1 per cent higher than the previous quarter.

Median rents for HDB homes stayed flat at $2,400 per month.

Credit from Business Times - 12 January 2013
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