The real estate market in Singapore has always been a key indicator of the city-state’s economic health and growth. However, in the past few years, it has undergone substantial fluctuations due to various factors such as the pandemic, rising inflation, government policies, and local market dynamics. In 2022, property prices increased on almost every front which kept buyers, sellers, investors, and regulators on their toes.
As such, the overall Sale Demand Index, which tracks the number of property sale listing searches, went down by 44.4% in Q4 2022, according to a report by PropertyGuru. While this may mean home buyers will face less competition in the market, it is still crucial to determine if property prices are within their means.
On top of that, Singapore house prices grew 11.3% YoY in March 2023. This indicates that buyers must remain vigilant and carefully consider their financial situation, loan eligibility, and property preferences before making a property purchase.
History of Singapore’s Property Market
On 1 February 1960, the Housing & Development Board was set up to address the nation’s housing crisis. The HDB embarked on an ambitious public housing program, constructing affordable flats for the rapidly growing population. By the late 1980s, the majority of Singaporeans were living in HDB flats, which remain the most common form of housing today.
In the 1990s, Singapore became a developed country with a first-world status. As such, the public housing was revamped, implementing various schemes to facilitate infrastructural upgrades. This development also led to an increase in private property development. The government eased regulations and introduced measures to encourage home ownership, resulting in a surge in demand for private properties.
This boom lasted until 1997 when the Asian Financial Crisis occurred. This event caused a sharp decline in property values. During the 2000s, the Singapore property market witnessed a recovery, with prices gradually increasing. This growth was again interrupted by the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, which led to a short-lived decline in property values.
However, the market quickly bounced back, and prices soared between 2010 and 2013. In response to concerns about housing affordability, the government implemented cooling measures, such as Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duties and LTV restrictions. These cooling measures were introduced in 2011, 2018, and 2021.
From 2010 to 2020, more and more Singapore families are now living in condominiums – increased to 16% from 11.5%. Fewer families lived in HDB flats (82.4% to 78.7%).
Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a mixed impact on the Singapore property market. While some sectors, like retail and hospitality, have been severely affected, the residential property market has remained relatively resilient. Government intervention, low-interest rates, and a stable economy have contributed to maintaining the demand for housing.
Current State of Singapore’s Property Market
Singapore’s housing market is growing stronger. While the Singapore Residential Property Price Index eased by 0.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q4 2022, it is important to note that there has been solid price growth observed year-on-year. This is supported by the low supply and strong employment rate.
The YoY data from March 1976 to March 2023 has an average growth rate of 4.9%. In March 2023, Singapore property prices grew 11.3% YoY. This means sellers can potentially sell their properties at higher prices compared to the previous year. The increasing property prices can lead to higher profits for sellers and encourage more people to list their properties for sale.
In contrast, for homebuyers, these higher prices make it more challenging to find affordable properties. This growth may also cause buyers to act more quickly, fearing that prices will continue to rise. However, it is crucial to take into account other factors such as interest rates, availability of mortgage loans, and government cooling measures that can impact the affordability of properties.
Factors Affecting Property Prices in Singapore
There are various factors affecting Singapore’s property prices, including economic and demographic factors as well as government policies. Let’s take a closer look at the key factors and how they shape the ever-evolving landscape of the city-state’s real estate market.
Economic factors play a significant role in determining property prices in Singapore. Some key aspects include:
- Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth: A robust GDP growth rate is generally indicative of a strong economy, leading to a demand for property. When the economy is growing, consumer confidence and purchasing power increases. This results in higher demand for properties. When the demand increases, so do the property prices.
- Interest Rates: Interest rates significantly impact property prices since they influence the cost of borrowing for home buyers as well as investors. Lower interest rates can make home loan more affordable, leading to higher demand – which can lead to higher property prices. On the other hand, higher interest rates may dampen demand and put downward pressure on property prices.
- Employment and Income Levels: A stable job market with rising income levels can lead to higher demands for housing. Conversely, high unemployment rates and stagnant wage growth may result in reduced demand and lower property prices.
Demographic factors, such as population growth, age distribution, and household composition, can influence property prices in Singapore.
For example, an increasing population and a growing middle class can drive up demand for housing which will push property prices higher. Additionally, changing preferences among different age groups and family structures can impact the types of properties in demand, further affecting property prices.
Government policies play a crucial role in shaping Singapore’s property market. Here are some key factors that drive property prices:
- Cooling Measures: The Singapore government has implemented various cooling measures, such as:
- Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duties (ABSD)
- Loan-to-Value ratio (LTV)
- Total Debt Servicing Ratio
- Tighter regulations on foreign property ownership
These measures aim to keep demand and pricing levels manageable. These measures can impact property prices by affecting demand and supply dynamics.
- Zoning regulations and Land Supply: Singapore’s land use policies, such as zoning regulations and land reclamation projects, can influence the availability and value of land, directly impacting property prices.
- Public Housing Schemes: The government’s public housing initiatives, led by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), affect property prices by providing affordable housing options for the majority of Singaporeans and indirectly influencing the private property market.
Global trends, such as the pandemic, rising inflation, international economic conditions, and more, can also impact property prices in Singapore. For example:
- Economic Cycles: Global economic cycles can influence Singapore’s economy, affecting property prices indirectly through factors such as GDP growth, employment, and interest rates.
- Foreign Investments: Singapore’s property market attracts foreign investors, who can contribute to fluctuations in property prices. Foreign investments can increase demand for property which results in higher property prices.
Property Price Trend in Singapore
Residential Property Price Trend
There is a slow increase in HDB resale prices in Q1 2023, according to PropertyGuru. It is rising by 0.9% compared to the 2.3% hike during Q4 of 2022. Despite the slow rise in prices, resale HDB buyers are still worried, and as a result, regulators have taken steps to help cool the resale HDB market.
In May 2023, HDB is set to offer around 5,400 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in Bedok, Kallang Whampoa, Serangoon, and Tengah. And then in August 2023, there will be another 5,200 to 6,200 flats available in Bukit Merah, Choa Chu Kang, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown, and Tengah.
This move will attract buyers away from the resale market. Plus, higher interest rates this year can put off buyers from the resale market, and consider applying for a BTO flat instead.
Private Condominiums and Apartments
Take a look at the Private Residential Property Price Index from Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). This index tracks the overall price movement of the private residential market.
Private residential market at a glance:
Prices of private residential properties increased by 3.3% in Q1 of 2023, compared with the 0.4% increase in the previous quarter.
For the non-landed segment, these market segments saw price growth:
- Rest of Central Region (RCR), with QoQ growth of 4.0% in Q1 2023.
- The Core Central Region (CCR) grew 1.0% quarter-on-quarter
- The Outside Central Region (OCR) and 1.9% quarter-on-quarter.
New launches for private condominiums and apartments have been steadily growing over the past 7 years, according to Property Lim Brothers. New launches have grown 6% in average price and are one of the fastest-growing segments in Singapore’s property market.
Prices of landed properties also increased by 5.9% in Q1 of 2023, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Several factors that might have contributed to this price growth:
- A progressive pickup in demand in the new launch market
- Return of foreign buyers
- Increase in high-value transactions
Lastly, the rental market is also seeing an increase in prices. In fact, rental prices of HDB flats rose by 23% and rentals of private residential properties increased by 7.2% in 1Q of 2023. Rentals of landed properties increased by 14.5%, compared with 6.3% in the previous quarter.
See also: Best Home Loan Interest Rate
Future of Property Prices in Singapore
The overall Singapore property market will see positive but slower growth in 2023, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s latest Singapore Market Outlook 2023 report. Private home prices are expected to lock in positive growth although at a slower pace – around 3% to 5%. This is due to the higher borrowing costs, weak economic growth, and slower growth in HDB resale prices.
While the slow growth may present a window of opportunity for buyers to enter the market, the high borrowing costs might make it more challenging for potential buyers to secure affordable loans. That said, buyers must evaluate their financial situations as well as loan eligibility before committing to any property purchase.
With slower growth expected in the property market, investors should adopt a long-term investment strategy rather than focusing on short-term gains. In doing so, they can ride out temporary market fluctuations and benefit from potential long-term capital appreciation.
Lastly, investors should closely monitor economic indicators and government policies that could affect the property market. By staying informed and responsive to changes in the market landscape, investors can make better decisions and capitalize on opportunities as they arise.
The property price trend in Singapore is influenced by a complex interplay of economic factors, demographic factors, government policies, and global trends. While the government implements cooling measures to keep housing prices under control, it is still important to remain vigilant and carefully consider your financial situation.
- Singapore house prices grew 11.3% YoY in March 2023.
- The YoY data from March 1976 to March 2023 has an average growth rate of 4.9%.
- There is a slow increase in HDB resale prices (rising by 0.9%) in Q1 2023, according to PropertyGuru.
- Prices of private residential properties increased by 3.3% in Q1 of 2023.
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