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RESALE prices of private non-landed homes last month rose 0.5 per cent in the fifth straight month of increase on broad-based recovery across regions, reaching a 2 1/2-year high since September 2014, says SRX Property.
But some analysts note that the smaller price gain in March following a one per cent rise in January and 1.1 per cent increase in February should not be read as a sign of market exuberance, especially in view of the sterling jump in volumes.
SRX Property's flash report for private non-landed resales, which captures over 80 per cent of monthly transactions, shows a 51.8 per cent month-on-month jump in resale volumes to an estimated 1,058 units in March.
R'ST research director Ong Kah Seng noted that the March report reflects stable pricing for completed properties and the overall buying behaviour during the month seemed to be opportunity-driven.
He felt that the type of units being transacted could also have played a part. The increased resale transactions this year may include more shoebox and smaller two-bedroom units in suburban areas that investors want to offload due to weak leasing demand.
"It is important not to overlook any of the possible unintended skewed effect due to the structural (size) difference and hence dollar per square foot resale value difference of these newer, shrunk-sized units," he said.
Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong felt that there could also be "statistical fluctuation" from month to month. Still, the fact that individual sellers - who usually have no bargaining power in a weak market - have managed to lift resale prices in recent months suggests that demand from buyers is positive, he said.
"On the ground, more sellers are trying to push their luck by asking for higher prices. The market has already found its feet and I believe this is the start of a new cycle," Mr Cheong added. He is now expecting resale prices this year to range from being flat to marking a 2 per cent rise and volumes to increase by 15 per cent to around 9,086 units.
Compared to the last peak in January 2014, SRX Property's resale price index for non-landed homes was down 5.5 per cent in March.
Last month, the Core Central Region (CCR) and the Outside Central Region (OCR) each continued to clock 0.4 per cent month-on-month rise in resale prices in their fifth straight month of increase. The Rest of Central Region (RCR), or the city-fringe region, marked a 0.7 per cent increase during the month of March.
Compared to a year ago, resale prices and volumes were also higher.
The CCR, RCR and OCR recorded price increases of 6.2 per cent, 1.7 per cent, and 0.2 per cent respectively from a year ago; SRX Property's overall resale price index was up 2.2 per cent year on year. Resale volume last month was also 77.5 per cent more than the 596 resale units in March 2016.
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