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Strong showing in some suburban areas and projects

Bukit Batok home prices soar 43% but other districts drop as much as 20%

PRIVATE homes in some suburban areas proved the most resilient amid a general slowing in price rises across the board, the latest government figures show.

Some suburban areas performed very strongly, but others showed uneven price growth.

Data from Savills Singapore showed that prices in districts 23 and 24 – which include areas such as Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang and Hillview – rose 21 per cent to $694 per sq ft (psf) in the fourth quarter.

Within that overall region, average prices in Bukit Batok soared 43 per cent in the fourth quarter to reach $795 psf. But other districts, such as 16, 17, 18 and 19, paled in comparison.

In fact, some districts saw significant price dips. For instance, prices in districts 21 and 22, which include Clementi and Jurong, fell about 20 per cent to $737 psf in the fourth quarter.

Overall, fourth-quarter prices of non-landed homes outside the central region rose 7.5 per cent, according to initial estimates released yesterday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Although that figure is below the 7.9 per cent rise in the third quarter, it is nonetheless higher than the 7.3 per cent fourth quarter rise in the rest of the central region and the 7 per cent rise in the core central region covering Orchard Road and Sentosa Cove.

While these are preliminary estimates, they lend support to a theory put forward by some property analysts – that mass market home prices will rise more than those of high-end and, possibly, mid-end homes.

The fourth-quarter price rise of homes outside the central region was largely supported by resale deals, considering there were few launches, said Savills Singapore director of marketing and business development Ku Swee Yong.

Existing projects, such as the 99-year leasehold Sun Plaza in Sembawang Drive, saw a 39 per cent rise in average price to $595 psf in the fourth quarter.

The only notable launch was the freehold 192-unit Park Natura across the road from Bukit Batok Nature Park.

Buyers picked up 152 units in October and November at a median price of $945 psf.

Mr Ku is sticking to his earlier forecast for a rise of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent for mass market homes this year, which could send the current average mass market price of $730 psf to as much as $950 psf.

However, growth in the private mass market sector – which has the closest correlation to the HDB market – may be weighed down by the public housing resale market, said Mr Nicholas Mak, director of research and consultancy at Knight Frank.

Initial estimates showed that fourth-quarter HDB resale prices rose 5.6 per cent, which placed the full-year rise at 17.4 per cent.

‘I don’t think HDB resale flat prices can keep growing at this rate for a year or so, because this group of buyers has a natural resistance to too much of an increase,’ said Mr Mak.

Besides, the Government will step in if HDB prices are growing too fast, he said.

Mass market launches expected this year include four projects on the former Waterfront View estate in Bedok Reservoir Road. Of the four, the 405-unit Waterfront Waves is expected to be launched in the first quarter.


Source: The Straits Times 3 Jan 08

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