Singapore luxury home prices fall most in a decade

SINGAPORE • Singapore home prices fell for a second straight quarter, with values of luxury dwellings falling the most in almost a decade as property curbs imposed mid-last year took some heat out of the market.

Private residential prices declined 0.6% in the three months ended March 31 from the previous quarter, when they fell 0.1%, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said yesterday.

Luxury home prices, or residences located in the prime areas, dropped 2.9%, the most since the quarter ended June 2009.

Singaporean authorities have kept a tight leash on the property market since the early part of the decade in a bid to avoid runaway price growth like in Hong Kong, which holds the unenviable title of the world’s least-affordable housing market.

The government in July imposed higher stamp duties and tougher loan-to-value rules to choke off a sudden bout of exuberance.

It has since cracked down on “shoe-box” apartments, limiting transactions at the cheaper end of the market, while anti-money laundering rules have imposed an additional administrative burden on developers.

“We’re expecting the market will remain relatively quiet, as more supply is beginning to come on stream in the form of new launches and unsold units,” said Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty Pte Ltd.

“Hence we’re expecting prices for private properties to remain flat for the rest of the year.” — Bloomberg