Condo Resale Volumes Increase 50.3% in February, Its First Rise in 4 Months
Artist’s impression of Meyer Mansion
In February 2023, the resale volumes of private condominiums increased for the first time since October 2022, as a result of pent-up demand following the Chinese New Year period. According to flash estimates from SRX and 99.co released on March 28th, a total of 756 units were resold, marking a 50.3% rise from January's 503 units. Nonetheless, the figures were still 4.2% lower than February 2022 and 4.1% lower than the five-year average volumes for the same month.
The Outside Central Region (OCR) accounted for nearly half of the transactions, while the Rest of Central Region (RCR) represented 28%, and the Core Central Region (CCR) accounted for 23.2% of total deals.
Pow Ying Khuan, Head of Research at 99.co, suggested that the increase in volume could be partly attributed to buyers hurrying to finalize their home purchases after the mid-February announcement of an increase in Buyer Stamp Duty (BSD) for higher-value residential and non-residential properties.
Huttons Asia's CEO, Mark Yip, pointed out that the robust demand for properties in the OCR could be due to the region's abundance of properties priced at S$1.5 million or less. According to him, some buyers may have turned to the resale market to find properties below S$1.5 million, and the heightened demand may have driven prices up by 2.3% in the OCR region in February.
SRX and 99.co reported that overall condo resale prices rebounded by 1.4% month on month in February, with RCR prices increasing by 1.4% and CCR prices decreasing by 0.3%. On a year-on-year basis, the resale prices for condos increased by 9.2% overall, with OCR prices rising by 11.5%, RCR prices by 7.3%, and CCR prices by 6.6%.
The highest transacted price for a resale unit in February was S$20.5 million at Nassim Park Residences. In the RCR, the highest transacted price was for a unit at Reflections At Keppel Bay, which sold for S$8.2 million, and Waterfront Isle had the highest OCR price at S$3.7 million.
The median capital gain for resale condos in February was S$300,000, an increase of S$26,000 from the previous month. The median unlevered return for resale condos was 27.3%, with District 21 (Clementi Park/ Upper Bukit Timah) having the highest median unlevered return and District 4 (Harbourfront/Telok Blangah) having the lowest.
Despite the sales rebound in February, analysts cautioned that it does not necessarily indicate a continued upward trend in the property market. Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, highlighted that the resale market is still facing challenges due to global economic uncertainties caused by the banking crisis. Additionally, mortgage rates and borrowing costs are expected to remain high, even though the FED has suggested that it could reduce the pace of interest rate hikes if the banking crisis worsens.
Yip sees a possible silver lining in a smaller interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve, as it could mean a lesser increase in borrowing costs and potentially aid the resale condo market, while Sun expects demand for resale condos to persist due to the price gap between new and resale condos, leading some buyers to switch from the primary to the secondary market. She also anticipates more units being put up for resale in the coming months, as more condos receive Temporary Occupation Permits (TOP).
Lim notes that larger condo units in prime or central locations are sought after by an increasing number of foreign buyers returning to the Singapore market. He believes that resale condominiums in this prime market segment may see growth throughout the year.