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TDSR rule may be driving homebuyers to small units

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Prices of small completed private apartments and condos in Singapore recovered in July after slipping for two consecutive months, latest flash estimates from the National University of Singapore (NUS) show.

Market watchers suggest the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework, which took effect from June 29, could be driving buyers to the small-unit segment.

The Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) for small units (up to 506 sq ft) islandwide rose 2 per cent in July over June to its highest level since December 2001, the start date of the SRPI series.

The revised June SRPI for small units reflects a 0.5 per cent month-on-month dip. In May, the index slipped 1.3 per cent.

Month-on-month, year-to-date as well as year-on-year, the SPRI for small units has outperformed the other three indices in the series.

In July, SPRI for Central Region (excluding small units) was unchanged from the previous month after slipping 1.5 per cent month on month in June. Central Region is defined as districts 1-4 (including the financial district and Sentosa Cove) and the traditional prime districts 9, 10 and 11.

The SRPI for Non-Central Region (again excluding small units) increased 0.3 per cent month on month in July following a one per cent gain in June.

The Overall SRPI was up 0.2 per cent in July, against a 0.1 per cent drop in June.

Minted by NUS' Institute of Real Estate Studies (IRES), the SRPI series tracks prices of completed non-landed private homes, excluding executive condominiums.

Year-to-date, SRPI for small units has climbed 6.1 per cent, outperforming increases of 1.9 per cent for the Central Region, 2.8 per cent for the Non-Central Region and 2.4 per cent for the Overall indices.

The latest July flash estimates also reflect a 10.2 per cent year-on-year hike in the index for small apartments, surpassing the increases of 4.2 per cent in Central Region, 9.9 per cent for Non-Central Region and 7.3 per cent for the Overall indices.

Commenting on the hike in the small-unit index for July after two consecutive months of decline, associate professor Lum Sau Kim of IRES suggests that this could be due to the "impact of the TDSR measures, which may have creamed affordability and driven some buyers towards small units".

Credit from Business Times - 29 August 2013
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