SINGAPORE: Private home prices in Singapore fell 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year, according to flash estimates released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday (Apr 1).
The private residential property index decreased by 0.9 point from 149.6 points in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 148.7 points in the first quarter of 2019.
This represents a decrease of 0.6 per cent, compared to the 0.1 per cent decrease in the previous quarter, said URA.
Prices of non-landed private residential properties fell by 2.9 per cent in the Core Central Region (CCR), compared with the 1.0 per cent decrease in the previous quarter.
Prices in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) decreased by 0.2 per cent, after registering an increase of 1.8 per cent in the previous quarter. Prices in the Outside Central Region (OCR) were unchanged, following the 0.7 per cent increase in the previous quarter.
The fall in Q1 private home prices is "generally unsurprising", said Ms Tricia Song, head of research at Colliers International, citing weaker market sentiment after property cooling measures kicked in last July.
For the Core Central Region, she noted that the Q1 figure is the sharpest quarterly price decline since the 5.2 per cent fall in Q2 2009, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
"Despite two straight quarters of decline in the URA private residential property price index, we think it is too premature to conclude that prices will continue to head south from here on," Ms Song added.
"We note that the launch pipelines could also ease going forward as most of the bulky ones have been launched or (are) being launched."
PropNex Realty CEO Ismail Gafoor said developers have been pricing their projects at a lower price point given the current market conditions.
"We are expecting that the market will remain relatively quiet, as more supply are beginning to come on stream in the form of new launches and unsold units," he said.
"Hence, we are expecting prices for private properties to remain flat for the rest of the year.”
The flash estimates are compiled based on transaction prices given in contracts submitted for stamp duty payment and data on units sold by developers up until mid-March.
The statistics will be updated on Apr 26 when URA releases its full set of real estate statistics for the first quarter of 2019.
“Past data have shown that the difference between the quarterly price changes indicated by the flash estimate and the actual price changes could be significant when the change is small. The public is advised to interpret the flash estimates with caution,” URA said.