Steep fall in home prices

PRIVATE home prices registered the steepest drop in a decade as it slipped 6.1 per cent in the October to December period.

This is above the earlier estimate of 5.7 per cent and follows a 2.4 per cent decline in the earlier quarter from July to September.

This means that for the whole year of 2008, prices of private homes have recorded a 4.7 per cent fall, compared with a 31.2 per cent rise in 2007.

Fresh fourth quarter data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Friday showed that prices of non-landed properties fell by 6.3 per cent, compared with 2.5 per cent fall in the previous quarter.

Prices of landed properties fell by 4.8 per cent in the same quarter, compared with the decrease of 1.9 per cent in the third quarter.

Where locations are concerned, prices of non-landed properties in the core central region - which includes districts 9. 10 and 11 - fell by 6.5 per cent in the fourth quarter.

The fall was at 6.2 per cent for the rest of the areas in the central region. The suburban areas outside the central region registered a smaller fall of 5.9 per cent.

In the rental market, private home rentals fell by 5.3 per cent in the fourth quarter. Rents of office space, shops and industrial properties decreased by 6.5 per cent, 0.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively.

But for the whole of last year, rentals were up. Those of private homes, office space, shops and industrial properties increased by 2 per cent, 5.8 per cent, 5.1 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively, said the URA.

In the Housing Board (HDB) market, the growth in prices of resale flats slowed to 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, from 4.2 per cent in the third quarter. There was a 24 per cent drop in resale deals done in the fourth quarter to 6,186 cases.

The median cash-over-valuation for resale deals showed a significant drop, as it fell $4,000 from the third quarter to $15,000 in the fourth.

In the HDB rental market, median sublet rents remained steady. More owners were given approvals to sublet their flats but demand has been hit. Th number of subletting deals fell by 7 per cent in the fourth quarter to 3,690 cases.


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