A quick review of how did Singapore property market perform in 2021 and what’s ahead in 2022
Singapore private and public housing markets saw a buoyant year in 2021, with prices reaching new peaks and annual sales hitting the highest level in several years.
Private home prices jumped 10.6 per cent in 2021, quickening from a 2.2 per cent increase the year before, according to flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Resale flat prices in Singapore rose 12.5 per cent for the whole of 2021, the highest annual growth since 2010, according to Housing and Development Board (HDB) flash estimates.
However the sudden rollout of cooling measures on 16 December 2021 has changed the industry’s previously upbeat stand for 2022. The measures include higher Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates and a tighter Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR).
While the full impact of the property curbs will only be revealed as the dust settles in the year ahead, we at Lushhomemedia will look at some property trends that may happen this year.
GROWING RENTAL DEMAND
The rental market has picked up momentum – with rates for private housing rising 7.1 per cent in the first three quarters of 2021 alone – and is likely to continue gaining pace.
Construction delays have lowered supply of rental homes. Plus the back of the re-opening of Singapore’s borders, more foreign expatriates, workers and students are returning and coming into the country in 2021.
With the additional effects of the cooling measures, potential buyers may take a step back with their purchases and rent instead. This plus the continued delays in completion of some developments and re-opening of the country, we expect the rental demand to remain high and rental prices to increase in 2022.
REDUCED NEW SUPPLY AND FEWER LAUNCHES
The existing stock of unsold private homes has fallen to 17,140 units as at the end of Q3 2021 – the lowest such level in about four years.
We expect 5,400 units may be offered across some 40 launches in 2022, down from the more than 10,500 units launched in 2021. The developers may take a wait and see approach for the first few months before launching their developments for sale.
The land supply from the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme was moderated over the past two years to keep pace with the uncertain economic outlook. With the increased land supply under the confirmed list of GLS sites in the first half of 2022 by about 40 per cent on-year, we do not expect them to be launched till much later of the year and in 2023 as developers will require time to plan and prepare the site for launch.
EXECUTIVE CONDOMINIUM (EC) AND HDB RESALE DEMAND TO REMAIN HIGH
The sectors that may be spared from the fallout of the cooling measures will likely be the HDB resale and the executive condominium (EC) market, which saw remarkable performances in 2021.
While the new cooling measures are targeted mainly at investors for second and subsequent properties and foreigners entering the market, the first time homebuyers will be less affected by the measures.
HDB recently announced that it plans to launch up to 23,000 flats per year in 2022 and 2023. However these flats require time to be built and will not solve the current supply issue. With the continued supply chain and workers disruptions that caused delays and shortages, these had led to delays the completion in Build-to-Order (BTO) flats. Therefore we expect demand for HDB resale and ECs to remain robust.
He added that demand may be further fueled by measures such as the tightening of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), which limits the amount homebuyers can borrow. This could push buyers towards purchasing HDB resale units, which are generally more affordable than resale condominium flats, he said.
LANDED PROPERTY OUTLOOK
Overall, the landed property market will likely be less buoyant in 2022.
While there are still a high demand for larger space due to more Singaporeans getting accustomed to working remotely or ease into a hybrid work model, buyers may not be bullish like in 2021and their offers are likely to be more cautious, which may not meet the price expectations of sellers.
At the same time, sellers who are not in a hurry or need to sell will either keep their asking price the same or withdraw their property from the market. We can therefore expect the volume of transactions of landed properties especially the Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) to drop in the short term.
The cooling measures have increased risk on developers significantly since ABSD has increased from 25% to 35% if they don’t sell every single unit within the 5 years time frame.
Developers will bid more prudently for lands in the coming years with this increased risk and will likely avoid larger land plots so they can meet the 5-year timeline. Plus the developers may prefer to see how the property curbs is going to impact the market buyers before bidding for new sites. These will thus put a slow in the enbloc market especially for larger land plots.
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