Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cooling measures loom as resale home prices rise

Straits Times: Sat, Jun 09
BOTH private and public resale homes have attracted higher prices in the past two months, a report has shown, stoking concerns that more cooling measures might be on the cards.

Preliminary data collated by major property agencies in Singapore found that the average price for all private non-landed resale transactions in April and May was $1,131 per sq ft (psf).

This uptick comes after average prices dipped from $1,072 psf in the fourth quarter last year to $1,051 psf in the first three months of the year, according to data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX).

Resale volumes have also recovered after a poor first quarter and are set to post their best showing in a year, SRX said in its monthly report released yesterday.

Buyers could be flocking to the resale market because prices are more attractive than for new homes, consultants said.

Median prices for resale Housing Board (HDB) flats also rose by 2 per cent from the quarter before, with Bukit Panjang lodging the highest gain of 7.6 per cent.

SRX collates transactions by major property agencies, accounting for about 85 per cent of resale deals in the market.

Consultants note that while a rebound in the resale market might set some alarm bells ringing, more time is needed to determine if the trend is a sustained one.

The unfolding euro zone crisis must also be taken into account.

OrangeTee research and consultancy head Tan Kok Keong said: 'External conditions are quite bad so measures, if any, are likely to be less harsh... It is better to wait till the end of the quarter at least to get a clearer idea of where the market is headed.'

Official data for the second quarter will be out next month.
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Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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