by OrangeTee & Tie Pte Ltd.

Singapore housing market a safe haven amid pandemic



SG, 19 Nov 2020

Home sales in Singapore so far in this pandemic-ravaged year have exceeded expectations amid a lower-for-longer rates environment and a still-low unemployment rate - a phenomenon also playing out in some other countries. Cash-rich buyers have pushed new homes sales for the first 10 months of 2020 to 8,021, as the unemployment rate rose to 3.6 per cent in September from 3.4 per cent in August. Economists think the unemployment rate will stay sub-4 per cent for the full year. The 8,021 volume is 4.5 per cent lower than the 8,401 units sold in the first 10 months of last year. With the strong volume, some expect that private residential property prices for 2020 as a whole may end in positive territory after prices rose 0.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter in Q3, nudging the overall price index up 0.1 per cent year-to-date. In comparison, prices increased by 2.1 per cent in the first three quarters of last year.

The price increase is encouraging given the extent of uncertainties in the macroeconomy and job market, said Christine Sun, head of research & consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie. "The property market beat expectations as it managed to avert a major price correction during the current pandemic that is considered to be one of the most severe health and economic crisis in recent decades," she said. In comparison, prices posted four consecutive quarterly declines during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and 10 consecutive quarterly decreases during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, she said.

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