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Private home prices up for first time in 4 years

It has been a long wait, but property owners might just have reason to cheer after private home prices ticked up in the third quarter. The rise - while modest - ended a long 15-quarter decline and fuelled hopes that a rebound is under way.

Values rose by 0.5 per cent in the three months to Sept 30 compared with the second quarter, according to flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

But the public housing resale market continued to lag, with prices down 0.6 per cent quarter on quarter and 1.3 per cent lower than the same period last year, Housing Board estimates showed.

The private housing market's recovery has been long awaited, although industry watchers agreed growth will be slow, while HDB flat resales are likely to stay in a slump.

Prices were up almost across the board for private homes, with landed home values jumping by 1 per cent after a previous quarter-on-quarter fall of 0.3 per cent.

Non-landed properties in the core central region recorded a 0.2 per cent increase against a 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter decline in the three months to June 30, while homes outside the central region gained 0.7 per cent, compared with the previous drop of 0.3 per cent.

The lone exception was non-landed properties in the central region but outside plum districts like the downtown core. Prices there stayed flat between the second and third quarters, after a previous 0.6 per cent rise.

Ms Tricia Song, Colliers International Singapore's head of research, said a dwindling stock has helped to jump-start the market.

She said: "Buyers waiting on the sidelines have decided to jump in, and developers and sellers have more confidence in raising prices."

Foreign buyers were also spurred, she added, "as Singapore prices look attractive after falling for 15 consecutive quarters while other key gateway cities' prices have continued to increase".

Savills senior director of research and consultancy Alan Cheong said the market's recovery felt overdue because "general sentiments were already stirring" for private apartments by the second half of last year.

"This upturn may be the start of a multi-year price recovery", he added.

But analysts noted that cooling measures could keep a lid on price increases, which are likely to be gradual, with the year's growth projected to be flat or modest.

PropertyFinanceURBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (URA)