Singapore's home prices rise for first time in four years

People play tennis in a court surrounded by residential buildings in the Bedok area of Singapore, on June 3, 2017. (Bloomberg/Sanjit Das)

Singapore’s home prices rose for the first time in four years, snapping a record run of declines and confirming recent signs that the property market is rebounding.

An index tracking private residential prices gained 0.5 percent in the three months ended September 30 from the previous quarter, according to preliminary data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority released Monday.

A jump in home sales and developers’ aggressive bids for land are stoking optimism that the property market is making a comeback. At the same time, the bulk of Singapore’s cooling measures rolled out from 2009 are still in place. Before the latest data, a 15-quarter decline in prices was the longest since the index was first published in 1975.

Analysts at BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley are among those forecasting that prices will rebound after officials in March boosted sentiment by loosening some curbs. In a UBS Group report last week on global property bubble risks, Singapore housing was described as “fair-valued,” with declines in prices likely to end this year and be followed by moderate increases.

Morgan Stanley has predicted the city’s prices will climb two percent this year and 10 percent by the end of 2018, turning earlier and rising faster than people expected. Sales of about 8,388 private homes in the first eight months of this year were already ahead of some past full-year totals.

Apartment prices in prime districts rose 0.2 percent last quarter after falling 0.5 percent the previous quarter, the data showed. Suburban apartment prices gained 0.7 percent, while areas near prime districts remained unchanged.

In March, the government reduced a stamp duty imposed on sellers and some mortgage restrictions. – Bloomberg