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Resale condo prices fall at slower pace in 2015

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Resale prices of non-landed private homes shed 0.8 per cent in December 2015 over the previous month, based on SRX Property's flash estimates released on Tuesday.

This contrasts with a 0.6 per cent month-on-month gain in November.

For the whole of last year, the index slipped 2.1 per cent; this pace of decline was about half the 4 per cent slide seen in 2014.

The index performance last year was dragged by the suburbs or Outside Central Region (OCR) - where prices eased at a steeper pace of 4.1 per cent compared with the 3.3 per cent drop in 2014.

On the other hand, the price trend reversed in the Core Central Region (CCR) and the city fringe or Rest of Central Region, posting gains in 2015 after easing in 2014.

SRX's index for CCR appreciated 2.2 per cent last year after retreating 8 per cent in 2014. In RCR, the index advanced 1.5 per cent in 2015 following a drop of 4.8 per cent in 2014.

Based on the December 2015 flash estimate, the overall price index for resale prices of non-landed private homes was down 7.8 per cent from the recent peak in January 2014.

SRX Property estimated that 519 non-landed private homes were resold last month - 10 per cent higher than the 472 units resold in November 2015 and a 44.2 per cent year-on- year jump from the 360 units resold in December 2014.

Resale volume was down by 74.7 per cent from the peak of 2,050 units resold in April 2010.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim highlighted that based on the SRX figures, the full-year 2015 transaction volume was 6,364 units - up nearly 28 per cent from 2014.

"We notice more buyers turning to the resale market for their purchases - especially for owner-occupier buyers who are looking for units with larger floor areas, as units launched by developers tend to be smaller.

"Moreover, motivated sellers in the resale market are generally more negotiable - resulting in a fair amount of bargain hunting among resale buyers," he added.

This year, Mr Lim expects more activity in the resale market for non-landed private homes - as developers are expected to launch fewer new projects.

Offering a different perspective, another analyst expects buying behaviour to remain sluggish for completed condos in the suburbs in 2016. This is because HDB upgraders who are looking to purchase a private condo are typically very location-specific.

On the price front, he predicts a drop of about 3 per cent this year in overall resale prices of non-landed private homes. The decline will be more pronounced at about 4 to 5 per cent in the OCR due to substantial number of private condos completing in suburban areas. In RCR, completed condos are expected to see fairly resilient, flattish pricing this year, while in the CCR, we could see a price decline of about 3 per cent, he added.

Another consultant noted that with loan curbs still in place, buyers are very price and quantum-sensitive and would only transact if they perceive a good deal on the market.

High volumes of completions this year will continue to dampen rents and weigh down prices. Pockets of opportunity are expected to appear.

Mr Lim of ERA envisages that "the private housing market is still expected to face stronger headwinds as the weakening Singapore economy and rising interest rates come into the picture".

SRX Property said the overall median transaction over X-Value (TOX) fell to negative S$5,000 last month from zero in November. The median TOX measures how much people are overpaying or underpaying against the computer-generated estimated market value or the so-called X-Value.

Giving his take on this, Mr Lim said: "A difference of S$5,000 is rather marginal and this could well be the effect of the price negotiation ending in the buyer's favour. It is still a fair indication that most properties are sold at prices that are supported by valuation."

Credit from: The Business Times, 13 January 2016

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