Thursday, July 7, 2011

Singapore property market: Is it really moderating?

Most indicators are pointing to a gradual moderation in the property market in Singapore.

But latest figures showing a 1.4% month-on-month growth in home loans have got some analysts wondering if the outlook is as clear cut.

Latest figures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed that building and construction loans growth in May fell 13% month-on-month to $59 billion.

New private home units sold in May also fell 13% to 1,575, compared to 1,805 units a month ago.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) private residential property price index also showed that private home prices have been moderating for seven consecutive quarters.

However, home loans increased by 1.4% in May to $119.7 billion, representing a 0.3 percentage-point rise after falling 0.2 percentage-point in the previous month, suggesting that investors could still be bullish on the property market.

And some analysts expect home loans growth to remain firm for the rest of the year, and this could prompt further cooling measures.

"We've seen a pick-up in the lending into the broader market with the May figures. If we also see that in June and July, despite signs out there pointing to perhaps a moderation in economic growth, then I think it certainly will suggest that the government ought to do a bit more in terms of cooling down sentiment," said Song Seng Wun, regional economist at CIMB.

For now, the growth in home loans looks likely to stay.

Song said: "Despite the high year-ago base, the numbers will still stay fairly firm, unless of course, we see a very significant turn in sentiment - either more aggressive tightening measures from the government here which (will) lead to a big fall off in sentiment, or an external development, which perhaps may cause potential home owners or developers to hold back."

External developments that could affect sentiment in the property market are the debt issues in the US and the eurozone.
Source: Channel News Asia

The wife and I have heard that the 1-bedders on high floors at Skyline Residences are priced at $2,400psf, while some of the better sea-facing units are already sold out at the preview. On the other hand, marketing agents we met have told us that buying interests have slowed substantially over the past months. So is the property market really moderating? Go figure!



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