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SINGAPORE: Moves by central banks around the world to raise interest rates to tame inflation are already fuelling sharp downturns in housing markets, as buyers turn cautious in the wake of costlier mortgages.
Research consultancy Capital Economics said house prices will fall by 20% in Canada and New Zealand, by 15% in Australia and by 10% to 15% in Sweden – all nations that have experienced interest rate rises of late.
It expects price falls will be more moderate elsewhere – at between 5% and 10% in Britain and 5% in the United States.
A similar story is playing out in Singapore, where two-year, fixed-rate mortgages have gone up as much as 0.73 percentage point to 2.98% within two months.
The Singapore property market has been resilient so far, with prices for private homes and Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flats growing at a faster pace in the second quarter than in the first.
Urban Redevelopment Authority flash estimates showed the private residential property index rose for the ninth straight quarter - up 3.2% from the first to the second quarter after a 0.7% lift from the last quarter of 2021 to the first three months of this year.
Data also showed demand remained robust with new home sales hitting a six-month high in May although some estate agents said activity has slowed a little.,
Gary Seah, associate group division director at PropNex Realty, noted that customers had definitely become more cautious but prices remained supported by home-occupier demand.
“Six months ago, you put it up for sale, and it was taken up immediately. Now, you put it up for sale, you still can breathe before it is gone,” Seah said.
He added that home-occupiers will still buy if the property has attributes such as being new, in a good location, near to good schools and boasting a nice view.
Many of these buyers also have made a bit of money from the sale of their previous home and so are willing to pay more, Seah said.
One of his recent deals involved a couple selling their HDB flat and buying a condo. The couple paid US$50,000 (RM221,350) to US$60,000 (RM265,620) more than what was paid for another unit in the same condo development two to three months ago.
A relative shortage of supply is also playing a part in market dynamics. The number of unsold private residential units has been on a downtrend since the peak in unsold units in the first quarter of 2019.
Leonard Tay, head of research at Knight Frank Singapore, said the tight supply of saleable inventory, coupled with resilient underlying demand, is providing some support to private property prices.
Industry observers said the suburbs –known as the outside central region – will see the biggest demand or price gains.