Singapore home prices rise amid property curbs speculation

Singapore's Property values increased 2.1% in the three months ended Dec. 31, Urban Redevelopment Authority figures showed Friday.

SINGAPORE: Singapore home prices rose the most in more than two years in the final quarter of 2020, as speculation mounts that the government may impose measures to cool the market.

Property values increased 2.1% in the three months ended Dec. 31, Urban Redevelopment Authority figures showed Friday. That’s unchanged from the preliminary estimate earlier this month and the biggest gain since the second quarter of 2018, when prices climbed 3.4%.

A third consecutive quarter of price gains underscores resilience of the Singapore property market during the city’s worst recession. Home sales have also increased, climbing the most in six months in December.

For all of 2020, apartment prices on the island increased by 2.2%, less than the 2.5% in 2019, the figures showed. In 2018, they grew 7.9%.

The recovery has defied concerns that the housing market could slump as the coronavirus pandemic forces companies to slash jobs and wages. Instead, Singapore joins countries from Australia and New Zealand to the U.K. and the U.S. where property markets have surged during the health crisis, as record-low interest rates fuel demand.

Recent comments from government ministers have prompted analysts to speculate that authorities may weigh another set of measures to calm the market, a move last made in July 2018.

Both Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and National Development Minister Desmond Lee have said that the government is closely monitoring developments. Heng, who’s also finance minister, said authorities "do not want to see the property market run ahead of the underlying economic fundamentals.”

The government could consider raising stamp duties, especially for investors and foreigners, as the tool has slowed the pace of price increases in the past, DBS Group Holdings Ltd. said in its analysis. - Bloomberg

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