The iProperty Group released its iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Report (APMSR) H1 2013, revealing a continuing clamor for Government to heighten the affordability of public housing.
“Singapore property buyers understand that prices will continue to go up, but appreciate the Government stepping in to manage the pace and ensure that public housing will remain within their reach,” said Sean Tan, General Manager of iProperty.com Singapore.
Tan said the seventh round of cooling measures, which was announced on 12 January 2013, just two weeks after the survey was completed, would impact property sales but unlikely to make a dent in terms prices.
“The new measures would certainly make residential property buyers more cautious. In fact, the sentiments report already reflects this trend, with more than half of the consumers surveyed said they may be deferring their purchase much longer to up to two years. I think we can expect property sales to dip slightly as a result of the new measures, but prices will continue to go up, or at best, remain flat in 2013,” he added.
He continued, “However, low interest and high liquidity are expected to keep the property market buoyant, even in the face of tighter restrictions.”
Carried out in four markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong with a total of 17,303 respondents, including 2,099 from Singapore, the iProperty sentiments survey aims to provide property investors, buyers, sellers and owners – both locals and expatriates – with insights into the property market from a consumers’ perspective.
In Singapore, rising property prices resurfaced as a top concern, and sentiments lean towards Government taking a more active stance to decelerate the increases.
While respondents seemed to favour stricter market restrictions, a surprising 70% indicated that they were likely to support government moves to allow singles to buy new HDB flats, a reversal of the current rules that limit HDB flat ownership to singles over the age of 35 who purchase on the open market. Changing the rules would allow singles, too, to enjoy the benefits of subsidized public housing.
Key findings include:
- 64% of the survey respondents felt the current resale prices of HDB flats are not affordable to the average Singaporean family
- 50% of survey respondents predicted prices will continue to rise over the next three years despite an increased supply of build-to-order (BTO) flats
- 67% of those surveyed opined that government should take more active steps to cool the marke
- 41% of the respondents felt that the government is not doing enough to ensure sufficient housing is available to foreigners
Overall, the forecast for the Singapore property market in 2013 remains positive, with 55 % of respondents unfazed by fears of a property bubble. Majority of respondents (66%) are confident that their property will retain its value in 2013.
The report also revealed an interesting alignment between consumers’ preferred measures to curb HDB price increases and the government’s approach.
Respondents’ felt HDB prices could be better controlled if the Government were to adopt measures such as, imposing stricter guidelines for permanent residents subletting or selling their HDB flats (45%); putting a cap on resale prices of HDB flats (30%); and putting a levy on subletting HDB flats (25%).
“The issues and proposed solutions that figured prominently were addressed in the latest round of cooling measures. It is a testament to how the study reflects market realities,” Tan added.
To deliver more useful insights to property buyers and sellers, iProperty.com Singapore has partnered with Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd, one of Singapore’s real estate research consultancies, to analyse the sentiments and how the trends have evolved over the past few years.
“In the 2013 survey, about 72% of the respondents indicated that they do not intend to buy a property in the next one year. For consumers, it is not easy to fathom what 72% means. However, if consumers know that only 38% gave that answer the year before, it would definitely be more telling. We are working with iProperty.com Singapore to identify these underlying trends so that the study can become a truly invaluable tool that consumers can use in deciding when, where and what to buy,” said Getty Goh, Director of Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd.
Download full report here.