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A view of office buildings in the central business district in Singapore 24 March 2016 (Edgar Su/Reuters)
The latest set of preliminary data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) seems like an indication that the Singapore residential market is already out of the woods. But is it really?
According to the estimates by URA, the private residential property index showed its first increase after 15 succeeding quarters of decline. The index was up 0.5 percent in the third quarter of the year, regaining strength after last quarter's 0.1 percent dip.
CBRE Research Head for Singapore and Southeast Asia Desmond Sim said in a note sent to the media that the quarter-on-quarter increase is an indicator that the correction period has already passed.
"A near-definite increase in this index in the next six months can be expected, driven particularly by higher land prices than by a demand-supply mismatch," he noted, adding a warning that it was too early to tell if the market has already rebound.
"The Singapore government will now be monitoring the price performance closely, but the impending rise in interest rates will be a major factor to consider when buyers decide on a purchase" he further stated.
In a report from the Business Times, PropNex Realty Ismail Gafoor said overall prices in 2017 could possibly register a 1 percent uptick compared to last year's 3.1 percent decline.
"With the lowest price decline experienced in the previous quarter, this positive growth of 0.5 percent in the third quarter did not come as a surprise for many. We believe that the strong broad-based demand from all segments is set to continue" he confirmed.
Gafoor observed that with the prices in core central region (CCR) getting costlier, property investors, including foreign buyers, would look to enter the market to take advantage of the attractive pricing for luxury properties in the region.
URA estimated that private condos and apartments in CCR leapt 0.2 percent in the third quarter. Those in rest of central region remained unchanged whilst those outside central region increased by 0.7 percent.