Tag Archives: residential Home prices

Home prices may drop 20% by 2016: report

Home prices in Singapore could fall by 20 percent between 2014 and 2016 as economic restructuring, tighter population policies and property measures continue to weigh on the real estate market, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BOAML) report in the media.

“We believe the fate of the market will depend very much on the direction of policy, particularly on restructuring, immigration and foreign workers, as well as the timing of the relaxation of strict property measures,” wrote economist Chua Hak Bin in the report.

He noted overly tight population policies will limit the number of a younger foreign workforce, and affect property prices. Maintaining the cooling measures would also “imply a greater negative impact from rising mortgage rates and persistence of housing distortions”.

On the restructuring front, Chua believes Singapore’s move to a productivity-driven growth model, which is a long-term process, has produced mixed results. Notably, it has reduced the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while employment growth and total job creation is expected to moderate this year.

“We do not see the government reversing course, but a pause may be in order…as companies, particularly SMEs, are having trouble adjusting to the speed of the tightening,” said Chua.

Any potential relaxation of property cooling measures is likely to happen only in H2 2015, as cyclical property measures such as stamp duties and loan-to-value limits may be relaxed when US interest rates and Singapore mortgage rates start rising.

Govt unlikely to remove curbs soon

Home prices are likely to fall further before the government rolls back the property cooling measures which were imposed since 2009, according to Standard Chartered in media reports.

“You would start to take away some of these measures if price growth reaches a certain level of equilibrium,” said the bank’s CEO for ASEAN, Lim Cheng Teck. However, he believes this is not the case yet.

Chesterton Singapore’s Managing Director Donald Han also holds a similar view: “It’s still too early to remove curbs. The government will monitor but their fingers won’t be pressing any buttons at this point in time.”

Although Lim declined to provide an estimate on how much correction is needed before the property curbs are withdrawn, CapitaLand forecasted in February that a five to 10 percent drop in home prices could goad the authorities to act.

Based on statistics, private home prices in Singapore dropped 1.3 percent in Q1 2014, its biggest decline since June 2009, following a 0.9 percent dip in the previous quarter.

Property curbs implemented in the past five years include the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD), lower loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, seller’s stamp duty (SSD), higher levies on foreign buyers and the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework.