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Private home price index down 0.6% q-o-q in Q1 2019: URA flash estimate

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The Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) flash estimate for the first quarter of 2019 shows that its overall price index for private homes fell 0.6 per cent over the preceding quarter. This is a bigger decline than the 0.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter dip in the fourth quarter of 2018.

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) flash estimate for the first quarter of 2019 shows that its overall price index for private homes fell 0.6 per cent over the preceding quarter. This is a bigger decline than the 0.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter dip in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Year on year, the index is up 3.2 per cent.

URA data released on Monday morning also showed that prices of non-landed private homes fell 1 per cent quarter on quarter in the first quarter of 2019, contrasting with the 0.5 per cent gain in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Giving a breakdown by region, URA said that prices of non-landed private homes in the prime areas or core central region (CCR) decreased by 2.9 per cent quarter on quarter, a steeper decline than the 1 per cent decrease in the previous quarter.

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Prices in the fringe areas or rest of central region (RCR) dipped 0.2 per cent, after posting an increase of 1.8 per cent in the previous quarter. In the suburbs or outside central region (OCR), prices were unchanged, following the 0.7 per cent increase in the previous quarter.

Landed home prices rose 1.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, contrasting with a 2 per cent fall in the previous quarter.

URA said its flash estimates are compiled based on transaction prices given in contracts submitted for stamp duty payment and data on units sold by developers up till mid-March. The statistics will be updated on April 26, 2019 when URA releases its full set of real estate statistics for the first quarter of 2019.

"Past data have shown that the difference between the quarterly price changes indicated by the flash estimate and the actual price changes could be significant when the change is small. The public is advised to interpret the flash estimates with caution," it added.

ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim said: "The July 2018 cooling measures are designed to align the rate of property price increase with economic and income growth.  So far, they have been effective in halting the hike in property prices and have resulted in the moderation of property prices over the last two quarters."

"However, demand remains resilient and there have been several bright sparks of activity in the market," he added, pointing to the response to the recent launches of Boulevard 88 and Treasure at Tampines.

Mr Lim expects Singapore private home prices to hold steady in 2019, with the large number of new launches lined up over the year. "Developers, while mindful to price projects realistically in order to move sales, are not under significant pressure to cut prices as most of them are in the early stages of the five-year (sales) deadline." 

PropNex Realty chief executive officer, Ismail Gafoor, too commented that "under the current market conditions, developers have been strategically pricing their projects sensitively at a lower price point". This has been the "driving force" for the overall price decrease in private home prices in the first quarter of this year, he added. "The cooling measures have been effective in implementation, through curtailing runaway prices and minimising probable anomalies."

Mr Ismail expects private home prices to remain flat for the rest of the year, given that more supply is beginning to come on stream in the form of new launches and unsold units.