News: Singapore developers remain pessimistic about the property market

Jan 21, 2019

Developers remain cautious amid weakening market conditions expected in 2019.

Singapore developers remain pessimistic over the state of the property market, even as the Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI) posted a marginal uptick during the fourth quarter of 2018.

Jointly developed by the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) and the National University of Singapore’s Department of Real Estate (DRE), the RESI is based on a survey conducted among senior executives of REDAS member firms.

Get more details on the property market outlook for 2019 here

The survey revealed that the Current Sentiment Index rose from 3.9 in Q3 2018 to 4.2 in Q4 2018, while the Future Sentiment Index inched up from 4.2 to 4.3 over the same period. With this, overall sentiment improved from 4.0 to 4.3 quarter-on-quarter.

A score above five denotes improving market conditions, while a lower score indicates deteriorating conditions.

Developers described their expectations for 2019 in a few key words such as ‘uncertain’, ‘weakening’, ‘cautious’ and ‘challenging’.

They identified the excessive supply of new property launches, rising inflation/interest rate and a decline in the global economy as the top three potential risk factors that could adversely affect market sentiment over the next six months.

The survey showed that 95.1 percent of the developers agreed or strongly agreed that the July cooling measures dampened the property market’s outlook in 2019. And while 82 percent of the respondents expect the collective sale market to be hit hard, 50.8 percent do not expect the government to implement more cooling measures this year.

With this, 45.2 percent and 38.7 percent of the developers revealed plans to substantially increase and moderately increase their new launches in the next six months respectively. Only 6.5 percent said they would launch moderately fewer units over the same period.

“The strong year-end sale activities in private residential markets in 2018 helped cushioned the adverse impact of the hike in ABSD and the tightening of LTV announced in July 2018. However, there are no clear signals on the emergence of new positive economic drivers that could further uplift the market sentiment in the next few months,” said Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo of NUS’ Department of Real Estate/Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies.

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Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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