Property Update (4 March 2015)


Private resale prices fall further |

SINGAPORE : Resale prices of private homes continued to cool in January, falling at their fastest pace in at least two years.

Experts say the lack of buying activity leading up to the end-of-year festive season may have spilled over into the new year but the overall trend is one of declining values.

Prices fell 1.6 per cent in January over December following a revised 1 per cent fall in that month over November, according to the Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) yesterday.

“Prices are still expected to trend downwards, though it will likely be a sub-1 per cent rate of decline,” said SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak.

The last time prices declined at a 1.6 per cent pace was in February 2012, possibly caused by the introduction of the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty in December 2011, said Mr Mak.

However, it could have been an anomaly as prices then rose over the next four months. Read more here >>


The 15 Happiest Economies in the World |

Feeling bummed about your economy? It’s time to pack your bags for Switzerland.

That’s one way to read the fate of 51 economies (including the euro area) this year, based on Bloomberg calculations of what’s known as the “misery index.” Inflation and unemployment, two factors that make consumers unhappy, are remarkably low in the 15 countries shown below, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.


While the Swiss National Bank attracted some tumultuous headlines earlier this year, the haven of ski slopes and chocolates still outshines its peers in the survey as a consumer-friendly place to live. For the country’s working-age consumers — only 3.3 percent of whom are likely to be unemployed this year — an estimated 0.9 percent drop in prices in 2015 will help cushion the blow from a surging currency. That’s enough for Switzerland to claim one of the least-sad spots in the misery index. (The lower the score, the better.)

That’s great news for an already-wealthy country. Switzerland is the fourth-richest, as measured by International Monetary Fund estimates of gross domestic product per-capita estimates for 2015.

Look to Switzerland’s north for another consumer dreamland: Norway. There, consumer prices will probably increase by a mild 2.2 percent this year, edging just slightly above the 2 percent threshold for which some major central banks worldwide aim. Joblessness is projected to be about 3.75 percent in 2015. And income? Best of any in the group, at an estimated $67,619 GDP per capita for this year. Read more here >>


Property Market in Malaysia : What To Expect |

Almost 20 years ago, the property market in Malaysia was hit hard by the Asian financial crisis. House prices contracted between 8 to 9.5 per cent. The government’s stringent policies helped the market to recover. From 2006 onwards, the residential market experienced exponential growth.

The property market started weakening from 2009 when the base lending rate was increased and there was signs of an oversupply in office space and retail properties. Now, there is an oversupply in high-end properties and condominiums.

Speculation is now rife that the property market is headed for a period of doom and gloom. Moody’s says the two main reasons for this are the cooling measures put in place in 2013 by central bank Bank Negara Malaysia and the April implementation of the six per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST). The research house says the lull in demand after GST could last six to nine months.

Affordability is a major issue. Sales volumes fell 8 per cent year-on-year in Q1-2014, the fifth consecutive quarter of a drop in transactions, according to Standard Chartered Research. This is primarily because housing prices rose 72 per cent in Q1-2014 versus 2005, or about 6.7 per cent on average annually.

Bank Negara came up with a string of cooling measures to curb rising household debt that stands at almost 87 per cent of gross domestic product. Loans for properties formed the bulk of household debt at almost 50 per cent. This is why one of the cooling measures was to tighten housing loan approvals. The housing loan application rejection rate dropped to 30 per cent. This affected the property market in Malaysia and 90 per cent of respondents in a Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia survey in 2014 said they experienced a slowdown in sales. Read more here >>


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