Growth In Private Home Prices Moderated In 2023 Amid Slower Sales, While Hdb Resale Market Found Stability In The Year

26 January 2024, Singapore – Private home prices and HDB resale flat prices both rose in Q4 2023, sending the price indices to a record high. While both housing segments booked another year of price increase in 2023, the pace of growth has slowed compared with previous years, as a series of cooling measures since December 2021, market uncertainties, high interest rates, and price resistance among buyers kept home prices in check.   

Q4 2023 URA Private Residential Property Index

Data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) indicated that overall private home prices rose by 2.8% QOQ in Q4 2023, picking up further from the 0.8% QOQ increase in the previous quarter (see Table 1). This is slightly higher than the 2.7% QOQ growth reflected in the flash estimates which were released on 2 January. For the whole of 2023, overall private home prices have risen by 6.8%, marking the seventh consecutive year of price increase since 2017. Price growth, however, has moderated in 2023 – slowing from 8.6% in 2022, and 10.6% in 2021.

Table 1: URA Private Property Price Index

Source: PropNex Research, URA

Prices

The price increase in Q4 2023 was helped by the landed homes market which saw prices climb by 4.6% QOQ in the quarter, reversing the 3.6% QOQ decline in Q3 2023. It is likely that the Detached House segment – which posted higher sales volume (+8% QOQ) and average unit price (+15% QOQ) from Q3 to Q4 2023 – had contributed to boosting overall landed home values. Cumulatively, landed home prices rose by 8.0% for the entire 2023, compared with the 9.6% increase in the previous year. This is the sixth straight year of price growth in the landed homes market.

Prices ofnon-landed private homes rose by 2.3% QOQ in Q4 2023, building on the 2.2% growth in the previous quarter. The price increase in the non-landed home segment was driven by the Core Central Region (CCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR)– which saw the launch of new projects Watten HouseHillock Green, and J’den during the quarter.

Non-landed private home prices in theOCR jumped by 4.5% QOQ, after rising by 5.5% QOQ growth in Q3 2023. The transactions at Hillock Green and J’den (at a new benchmark price for Jurong) had contributed to the price growth in the OCR in Q4. In 2023, OCR home prices posted a strong 13.7% growth, compared with the 9.3% increase in 2022 and 8.8% climb in 2021.

CCR non-landed home prices staged a recovery in Q4 2023, rising by 3.9% QOQ following the 2.7% QOQ decline in the previous quarter. This is the steepest quarterly price growth in the CCR since Q1 2018, where prices climbed by 5.5% QOQ. The price growth in Q4 2023 has helped to mitigate the softer prices in the prior two quarters, taking the cumulative price increase for the whole of 2023 to 1.9%. This is substantially slower than the 4.8% and 3.8% increase in 2022 and 2021 respectively.

Over in the Rest of Central Region (RCR), non-landed home prices slipped by 0.8% QOQ in Q4, compared with the 2.1% QOQ increase in the previous quarter. The lack of fresh project launches in the RCR in Q4 2023 has put a drag on prices in this sub-market. Taken together, non-landed home prices in the RCR have increased by 3.1% in 2023, markedly down from the 9.7% growth in 2022 and the 16.3% jump in 2021.

Private home sales volumes

There was broad-based decline in sales volumes across the private new homes and private resale segments in the quarter. Developers sold 1,092 units (ex. EC) in Q4 2023, representing a 44% decrease from 1,946 units shifted in Q3 2023.This takes the full year total to 6,421 units – marking a 9.6% drop from 7,099 units in 2022, and it is the lowest annual tally in 15 years, since 4,264 units were sold in 2008. This is despite developers launching about 67% more stock in 2023 at 7,551 uncompleted new units (ex. EC), compared with 4,528 units in 2022.

In the private resale market, there were 2,831 transactions in Q4 2023 – easing slightly by 2.4% from the 2,900 units resold in the previous quarter. All in, 11,329 private homes were transacted on the resale market in 2023, registering a 19.2% decline from the 14,026 units resold in 2022

Private home rental
Meanwhile, in the private home leasing market, quarterly rentals fell for the first time in three years. The private residential rental index declined by 2.1% QOQ in Q4 2023, compared with the 0.8% QOQ increase in the previous quarter. For the whole of 2023, private home rentals rose by 8.7% – significantly lower than the 29.7% in 2022. The moderation in rentals can be partly attributed to increasing rental price resistance from tenants and the surge in private home completions at 19,968 units (ex. EC) in 2023. Past trends suggest that a strong completion pipeline can help to curb rental growth (see Table 2; 2014-2017).

Table 2: URA Private Residential Rental Index and completion of private homes (ex. EC)

YearRental Index growth %Completion of private homes ex. EC (units)YearRental Index growth %Completion of private homes ex. EC (units)
2002-1.57,73020130.913,150
2003-56,5982014-319,941
20040.311,7992015-4.618,971
20052.98,6972016-420,803
200614.16,5202017-1.916,449
200741.26,51320180.69,112
2008210,12220191.47,527
2009-14.610,4882020-0.63,433
201017.910,39920219.96,388
20113.812,469202229.79,526
20122.110,3292023 8.7 19,968

Source: PropNex Research, URA

Please attribute the comments below to Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty.

“It seems like 2024 has started as tentatively as the way 2023 ended. The property market is highly sentiment driven, and with market uncertainties still present, many buyers are taking a very careful assessment of their options and prevailing conditions before committing to a purchase. We may see buyers returning as they gain more clarity of the market in the months ahead. Despite the cooling sales volumes last year, overall private home prices have held up, which suggests that the market is still resilient.

We expect the private housing market to remain relatively stable in 2024, which will lend some support to prices. PropNex projects that private home prices could rise by a slower 3% to 4% in 2024, which would be more sustainable, and keeping pace with inflation. We anticipate that new private home sales could possibly trend at the 7,000 to 7,500-unit (ex. EC) range, while private resale volume may come in at around 13,000 to 14,000 units.   

Based on URA Realis caveat data, the median unit price gap between non-landed new sales and non-landed private resales has narrowed to about 50% in Q4 2023, from 67% in Q1 2023 (see Table 3). We expect buyers with more limited budget to continue to dip into the resale market; that said, the prices of new launches should also be quite stable this year, and would be a viable option for some prospective buyers.

Table 3: Median unit price of non-landed private home new sales and resales (ex. EC) by quarter

Non-landed New Sale Median Price $PSFNon-landed Resale Median Price $PSFPrice gap (%)
Q1 2023$2,584$1,54767%
Q2 2023$2,535$1,57561%
Q3 2023$2,418$1,56654%
Q4 2023$2,442$1,62550%

Source: PropNex Research, URA Realis

As at the end of Q4 2023, the supply of unsold uncompleted new private homes stood at 16,929 units (ex. EC), up slightly from 16,747 units (ex. EC) in the previous quarter, as per URA data. In our view, this supply is still relatively manageable and can be absorbed by the market in under two years, based on the 10-year annual average sales (2014-2023) of 8,850 units; or in about two and half years if we take a more conservative annual sales figure of 6,500 units. Therefore, the stock is still manageable and we are not expecting developers to slash prices; they will continue to price units sensitively depending on the demand outlook, as well as the project’s location and attributes.

Table 4: Non-landed new private home sales and non-landed resales (Ex. EC) by nationality by residential status by Quarter

Nationality by Residential Status2022Q12022Q22022Q32022Q42023Q12023Q22023Q32023Q4
Company0.1%0.2%0.1%0.2%0.7%0.1%0.1%0.1%
Foreigner (NPR)3.1%4.9%4.7%7.2%7.2%4.2%1.8%1.7%
Singapore Permanent Residents (PR)18.0%17.1%15.9%20.8%19.9%16.1%16.6%16.2%
Singaporean78.7%77.9%79.2%71.8%72.2%79.5%81.5%82.0%

Source: PropNex Research, URA Realis

In Q4 2023, foreign buyers (non-PR) accounted for 1.7% of the total non-landed new sale and resale private home transactions, according to caveats lodged (see Table 4). This represents a slight dip from the 1.8% in Q3 2023, and is substantially lower than the 7.2% and 4.2% proportion in Q1 2023 and Q2 2023 respectively. The proportion of Singaporean buyers, meanwhile, rose further to 82% in Q4 2023 from 81.5% in the previous quarter.

Overall, we are seeing the housing market gaining more stability following decisive moves by the government to roll out three rounds of new cooling measures from December 2021, as well as efforts to increase the future supply of homes. We remain cautiously optimistic about the private residential property outlook in 2024, in view of a more stable market, coupled with the projected improvement in Singapore’s economy and a potential for interest rates to moderate later in the year.”

Q4 2023 HDB Resale Price Index  

The data released by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) showed that resale flat prices rose by 1.1% QOQ in Q4 2023, easing slightly from the 1.3% QOQ increase in the previous quarter (see Table 5). This marks the 15th straight QOQ growth in the HDB Resale Price Index. Cumulatively, HDB resale prices rose by 4.9% in 2023 – slowing from the 10.4% growth in 2022.

There were 6,547 HDB resale flat transactions in Q4 2023 – dipping by 2.2% QOQ from 6,695 HDB flats resold in Q3 2023. For the whole of 2023, 26,735 HDB flats were resold, down slightly by 4.2% from the 27,896 units transacted in 2022.

Table 5: HDB Resale Price Index

QuarterQOQ % changeYOY % change
Q1 20213.0%8.1%
Q2 20213.0%11.0%
Q3 20212.9%12.5%
Q4 20213.4%12.7%
Q1 2022 2.4%12.2%
Q2 20222.8%12.0%
Q3 20222.6%11.6%
Q4 2022 2.3%10.4%
Q1 20231.0%8.8%
Q2 20231.5%7.5%
Q3 20231.3%6.2%
Q4 20231.1%4.9%

Source: PropNex Research, HDB

Please attribute the comments below to Wong Siew Ying, Head of Research and Content, PropNex Realty.

“The price growth in 2023 marks the fifth straight year of price increase in the HDB resale flat segment, since the HDB resale price index (HRPI) rose by 0.1% in 2019. In the following three years, HDB resale prices climbed by 5%, 12.7%, and 10.4% in 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively. That would make the 4.9% price growth in 2023 the smallest in four years. We think HDB resale flat prices could likely maintain at around this pace of growth in 2024, with our forecast set for a 4% to 5% price increase, in view of price resistance among buyers and the multi-year price growth, which has pushed the HRPI to a new high in Q4 2023.

Despite the dip in resale volume from Q3 to Q4 2023, HDB resale prices remained steady. Based on transaction data, the average resale price across various flat types saw marginal increase from Q3 to Q4, rising by between 0.1% QOQ and 0.7% QOQ (see Table 6).

Table 6: HDB average resale price by flat type

 Average transacted HDB resale prices
1 ROOM2 ROOM3 ROOM4 ROOM5 ROOMEXECUTIVE
2022Q4$234,444$306,964$399,920$563,146$669,537$795,430
2023Q1$237,000$315,216$408,922$571,995$672,674$813,736
2023Q2$245,500$321,255$410,084$579,740$685,707$827,549
2023Q3 $324,315$413,189$590,242$689,830$837,138
2023Q4$243,333$324,748$415,488$594,296$693,881$839,293
 QOQ % change in average HDB resale prices
1 ROOM2 ROOM3 ROOM4 ROOM5 ROOMEXECUTIVE
2023Q11.1%2.7%2.3%1.6%0.5%2.3%
2023Q23.6%1.9%0.3%1.4%1.9%1.7%
2023Q31.0%0.8%1.8%0.6%1.2%
2023Q40.1%0.6%0.7%0.6%0.3%

Source: PropNex Research, data.gov.sg (data retrieved on 26 Jan 2024)

We note that while the overall HDB resale market is moderating, the number of million-dollar resale flats sold has been on the up. In Q4 2023, we saw a new quarterly record of 134 resale flats sold for at least $1 million. This takes the number of such flats sold to 470 units in the whole 2023 – exceeding 2022’s record of 369 units. The 470 units of million-dollar resale flats accounted for about 1.8% of the total transactions.

Demand for such million-dollar resale flats has remained firm. In January 2024 (as at 26 Jan), there were 61 flats resold for at least $1 million, with a DBSS 5-room flat in Toa Payoh becoming the most expensive resale flat sold, when it changed hands for nearly $1.57 million – smashing the record set by a Moh Guan Terrace adjoined flat which fetched $1.5 million in June 2023. The 61 units of million-dollar resale flats sold is also new monthly record, higher than the 54 units resold in August 2023. This pick-up in numbers in January could be due to former private home owners returning to purchase resale flats after seeing out the 15-month wait-out period, which was implemented in September 2022. We expect the number of million-dollar HDB resale transactions to once again be elevated in 2024, as buyers perceive good value in such flats, in view of their superior attributes and compelling locations. That said, such flats are still outliers and will account for a small fraction of the overall transactions.

Notwithstanding the uptrend in million-dollar resale flats, we think a combination of cooling measures (in Sep 2022) and the bumping up of build-to-order (BTO) flat supply has helped to calm the overall HDB resale market. We expect the HDB resale volume to remain stable in 2024 – at around the 26,000 to 27,000-unit level – as this segment will continue to cater to the masses. Meanwhile, market uncertainties and increasing price resistance among buyers should keep the resale price movement measured.”  

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