All sectors need to improve to claim market recovery

Land bids have been aggressive. More collective deals were sealed in the first half of the year than the whole of 2016. New home sales by developers have been picking up. An entire executive condominium project in Hougang was sold out in a day. All good things and reasons to cheer. But property analysts are not yet satisfied that the market is recovering. Well, not completely.

As activity and public response have differed in the various market segments, recovery is not considered broad-based and perhaps it is a little too soon to claim a complete turnaround. For a rebound, home pricesrents and sales volume all have to be on the ascent. While recent increase in sales of units at new property launches, it could be a mere response to pent-up demand following quarters of inactivity from developers. Home prices are still 11% lower than the peak in 2013 and have dipped 0.3% in Q1 this year.

While the most recent sold-out response to the Hundred Palms Residences executive condominium (EC) in Hougang is a promising sign of things to come, property experts warn against harbouring expectations for similar response in upcoming launches. The last time a project sold out in a day was at the launch of the The Hillford mixed-use development in 2014. New launches have the leverage of marketing and hype. The resale market however still has a way to go before a complete market recovery can be claimed.

For the next half of 2017, continued buying activity can be expected though home prices could remain flat as the sector takes the year to adjust and stabilise. There is hope yet for 2018 with a projected 3% increase in home prices.