Jul 25, 2014

    Sharp rise in private home purchases in Q2

    HERE'S a possible reason why the authorities are not inclined to remove any property cooling measures just yet: There was an across-the-board increase in caveats lodged for private-home purchases in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter.

    DTZ's analysis of the URA Realis caveats database shows a 37.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in the total number of private homes transacted to 3,369 units in Q2.

    A segmental breakdown showed that the number of units picked up in the resale market climbed nearly 41 per cent or 386 units to 1,328 units in Q2 from 942 units in Q1 - ending three consecutive quarters of decline.

    New sales by developers rose by 511 units or 36.8 per cent to 1,898 units. In the subsale market, 143 units changed hands in Q2, up 11.7 per cent from Q1.

    Resales refer to transactions of completed properties. Subsales refer to secondary market deals involving uncompleted properties.

    Despite the recovery in Q2, the 5,826 total private homes sold in the first half of this year is not even half the 13,651 units transacted in the first half of last year - reflecting the dent on transactions created by the Total Debt Servicing Ratio framework since its introduction in late June last year, noted Lee Lay Keng, regional head (SEA) of research at DTZ.

    Yesterday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it's too early to ease the property cooling measures.

    "Property prices remain at elevated levels, although they've just started to soften," said Ravi Menon, managing director of the MAS, at the release of its 2013/14 annual report yesterday.

    Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong said: "The reason caveats have recovered in Q2 is that demand is extremely price elastic or price sensitive. Even a slight price decline would attract many potential buyers back to the market.

    "In 2012 and last year, the market was fixated with new property launches. This year, the genuine upgraders and even investors who are not overwrought by newfangled small-format homes have started to look at the resale market, where more habitable, larger apartments are to be found, and they have started to plunge into the market."