Singapore House Prices Surge Most in Decade as Curbs Test Market

Singapore home prices climbed the most in more than a decade last year, underpinning the government’s move to introduce cooling measures that will test the market’s resilience.

Prices grew 10.6% in 2021, Urban Redevelopment Authority figures showed Friday. That’s the most since 2010, when they surged 17.6%. Values grew by 2.2% in 2020. Meanwhile, fourth-quarter prices climbed 5% from the previous three months, the same as the preliminary estimate.

The figures underscore why the government intervened in the middle of December, introducing curbs including higher stamp duties for second-home buyers and foreigners purchasing private residences. Buyers have been capitalizing on low interest rates and expectations that prices will climb further as the economy recovers.

The market has held up well during the pandemic, even as Singapore endured its worst recession on record in 2020 followed by several start-stop virus restrictions in the second half of last year.

Even with the tightening, prices are likely to hold steady, according to Bloomberg Intelligence research. Developers and second-home owners may adopt a wait-and-see attitude and avoid selling their units at lower prices in the coming months unless interest rates increase dramatically to dampen their holding power, BI analysts wrote in the report.

The cooling measures may have a bigger impact on sales, possibly lowering average monthly new-home transactions by about 30% in the first quarter, according to the report.

“The impact of the new cooling measures, rising interest rates, and inflation may crimp buyers’ spending binges,” said Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie. She estimates that prices may grow as much as 3% this year. –BLOOMBERG