SINGAPORE: Singapore property prices are set to jump 10 per cent by the end of next year, according to United States banking giant Morgan Stanley. The bank’s in-house experts expect private home prices to start rising next month – instead of early next year as it stated in a previous forecast. The forecast does not relate to Housing Board flats. The significant upswing in prices would reverse a four-year downcycle after a range of cooling measures was introduced to slow the market. “We see signs of an imminent turnaround from sharply rising transaction volumes, which suggest a narrowing of buyer and seller expectations, growth in prices from late June implied by the upward revision in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s price index value in the second quarter, and price increases in the resale segment as evidenced from higher frequency monthly indices,” said the report.
The bank explained that rising prices, along with developer sales volumes “sustaining a growth rate of more than 50 per cent year on year so far this year, suggest a much improved outlook for property developers after what has been a four-year downcycle”. It also cited other positive market behaviour such as a recent surge in collective sales. It said this has displaced some 1,500 home owners across seven projects – estimated to get average proceeds of $1.8 million each. “With leverage, this adds up to $13 billion of potential capital inflows that could find their way back into the property market, more than the entire value of developer sales in 2016.” The bank said more collective deals could be around the corner.
Maybank Kim Eng analyst Derrick Heng had said in a separate recent report that more than $3 billion in collective-sale deals have been concluded so far this year, with another 30 properties at various stages of the en bloc process. Morgan Stanley noted unsold inventory has fallen to a record 22-year low of 17,000 units as of June, or 1.4 years on current sales volumes. “Inventory absorption accelerated on improving buyer sentiment and as households deployed excess cash after staying on the sidelines through the 2014 to 2016 lull… “Underpinned by rising demand outpacing tight supply, we believe the coming property price upcycle supports a combination of street revalued net asset value upgrades and narrowing revalued net asset value discounts, driving a further re-rating in developer stock prices,” said Morgan Stanley. The bank noted City Developments has the largest land bank among its listed peers, at six years’ worth, “and we believe, the highest earnings sensitivity to rising Singapore average selling prices, as well as highest share price sensitivity to rising property prices empirically”.