Property Predictions For 2019: Private Home Prices and Transactions
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Private home prices and transactions are expected to remain subdued in 2019.
Experts look into the crystal ball to give their outlook on the Singapore property market.
Recent property cooling measures may have dampened market sentiment towards the end of 2018, but this year will see a slew of project launches as many en bloc properties sold in the last one year are expected to be launched for sale in the coming months.
Developers are expected to price their projects more affordable in light of the current sentiment, which will benefit home buyers looking for good deals. However, it remains to be seen if buyers will choose to wait on the sidelines or enter the market. We spoke to several property experts to give us their predictions for 2019.
1. Lewis Ng
Chief Business Officer, PropertyGuru Group
“The Singapore property market is expected to see robust growth in 2019 and we expect to see at least 40 new project launches and more than 10,000 private residential units likely to be completed.
“Property cooling measures introduced in July have impacted the en bloc market, with only two en bloc deals worth $353 million completed in Q3 2018. Private home prices have also moderated, dropping by 0.1 per cent in Q4 2018 – the first drop in six straight quarters. We can expect private home prices and transactions to remain subdued.
“A strong economy and political stability will help boost Singapore’s real estate sector as external shocks and global instability are likely to lead more foreign and institutional investors to consider parking their money in the city-state.
“Mortgage interest rates have also been rising. With the SIBOR closely pegged to the US Federal Reserve, mortgage interest rates for those with floating packages are likely to climb higher, increasing the burden on Singaporean homeowners.”
2. Sigrid G. Zialcita
Chief Executive, Asia Pacific Real Estate Association
“Property market restrictions introduced last July, combined with additional constraints placed on residential development and slowing of the release of sites for residential use, will take further heat out of the market in 2019.
“Investors, especially for high-end homes, will be in no hurry to pull the trigger on purchases in the near term. Meanwhile, they will have more options as developers will continue to launch their projects following their land-buying spree in 2017 to 2018 and slew of en bloc sales.
“Hence, we can expect projects to be priced more competitively as developers attempt to move their units.”
3. Khalil Adis
Founder, Khalil Adis Consultancy
“The outlook for the Singapore residential market in 2019 will be muted as the price gap between that of private property and HDB resale flats has widened considerably following the cooling measures in July.
“For instance, while the private property market has seen the price index picking up by some 11.0 points, the HDB Resale Price Index (RPI) has been on a decline since the second quarter of 2013 as BTO flats continue to be launched.
“As 2019 is expected to be an election year, the government will need to address the ongoing debate on the value of older HDB flats moving forward.”
4. Lee Sze Teck
Head of Research, Huttons Asia
“The number of units sold in 2018 outpaced the units launched for four consecutive years. This is notwithstanding the fact that there were new cooling measures in July. This shows the underlying demand for properties remained strong.
“Ending 2018 on such a strong note will give developers confidence to push out launches in 2019. The economy is also expected to expand and the possibility of lower interest rate hikes by the US Fed are reasons to be optimistic about the property market in 2019.
“We could see sales volume of between 9,500 and 11,000 units and price increase of up to 5.0 per cent in 2019.”
5. Tricia Song
Head of Research, Singapore, Colliers International
“For 2019, we expect home sales to be supply-led again and thus should come mostly from the South/Central region which potentially has the most launches. We think developers could likely sell 9,500 to 10,000 new homes amid the substantial pipeline of new projects that could be launched for sale.
“This is a 9.0 per cent increase from 2018’s estimated new home sales number, as we take into account a potentially larger and varied launch pipeline and gradual market acceptance of the new measures in 2019.
“In the near-term, we believe demand-side factors such as household income growth, job security and household formations should continue to support the private residential market.”
6. Eugene Lim
Key Executive Officer, ERA Realty
“Going into 2019, we remain optimistic that demand for new homes will remain supply-led. The first three launches of the year, Fourth Avenue Residences, Fyve Derbyshire and RV Altitude have sold over 30 per cent of the units launched on their opening weekend; starting the year off on a good note.
“The July 2018 measures have helped to stabilise property prices. Developers, though not under any significant pressure to cut prices, must price their units realistically to achieve respectable sales volume in the initial stages of launch to sustain a good momentum going forward. Buying demand is resilient but selective as buyers focus on the projects’ value proposition.
“We expect this trend to continue throughout 2019, where attractively priced developments find favour with buyers. Prices may increase marginally by up to 2.0 per cent or more for the whole year.”
7. Desmond Sim
Head of Research, Singapore and Southeast Asia, CBRE
“Against the backdrop of global headwinds and uncertainties, sentiments are likely to remain tepid and cautious. Furthermore, post the July measures, demand will be kept in check with tighter financing requirements as well as higher borrowing costs in a rising interest rate environment.
“Nevertheless, sales volume will still be driven by total price quantum, supported by fundamental owner-occupier demand from upgraders, en bloc displacements and new households.
“As a result, CBRE expects sales momentum for 2019 to slow down to around 7,000 to 8,000 units, while the overall price index should remain stable and move between the range of zero to 3.0 per cent due to higher land costs.”
8. Christine Li
Senior Director and Head of Research, Cushman & Wakefield
“Demand for residential properties remains largely resilient, although buyers have become more selective in view of the higher upfront costs due to the increase in ABSD across the board except for first-timers. This is evidenced by the encouraging sales in some new launches such as JadeScape and Parc Esta in recent months.
“In 2019, prices are expected to remain in the positive territory between zero to 3.0 per cent, although transaction volume could fall to around 20,000 units, which is still way higher than the annual average of around 14,000 units between 2014 and 2016.
“Barring unforeseen circumstances arising from Brexit and the escalating US-China trade war, positive sentiments in the economy and employment, together with the en bloc beneficiaries who need replacement homes should translate to sustained buying demand in 2019.”
9. Dr Lee Nai Jia
Senior Director and Head of Research, Knight Frank Singapore
“With the cooling measures, buyers have become more cautious and quantum sensitive. Notwithstanding, sellers are not compelled to sell at a discount, especially if they have the financial means to hold out for a better deal. We expect a temporary stalemate between buyers and sellers, especially for buyers seeking investment returns, which will likely lead to a reduction in sales volume.
“While the global economy faces headwinds – a slowing Chinese economy, weaker consumer sentiments in the US, and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit – there are potential upsides, such as the expected growth in Southeast Asia and possible resolution of trade differences between China and the US. As such, we expect the impact of the external environment on the housing market to remain marginal.
“Separately, interest rate hikes are unlikely to affect sales nor prices at this point due to the low base, as buyers have been more constrained by the tighter loan-to-value ratios and higher ABSD payable. Moving forward, there is still strong underlying demand for real estate and we expect newly launched projects to move, albeit at a slower rate. Accordingly, prices are likely to stay flat given current market conditions.”
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