Singapore rental price falls as market cools

By bne IntelliNews August 7, 2023

Singapore's red-hot rental market seems to be finally cooling down, with rental price growth slowing in the second quarter of the year after after years of booming rental prices that have made living in the city-state less affordable and raised concerns about its attractiveness as a global finance hub, The Star reported on August 4.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's figures show that the index of private residential prices rose by 2.8% in the second quarter, the smallest gain since 2021. This is a significant drop compared to the double-digit growth seen in previous quarters.

The growth in rental costs is expected to ease further as new housing units become available. Around 20,000 private housing completions are expected this year, the highest annual supply since 2017. This increase in supply is likely to put downward pressure on rental prices.

Government measures have also played a role in relieving the spike in rents. The doubling of stamp duties for foreigners to 60% has deterred potential investors, leading to lower demand for luxury rentals. The high-end rental market has seen a notable reversal, with rents in the ultra-luxury segment slumping almost 4% in the second quarter.

Property agents are feeling the impact of the cooling market. Some expat clients have been relocating to other cities like Dubai due to the rising cost of living in Singapore. Additionally, luxury properties listed for more than two months are seeing price reductions of 10% to 15%.

Singapore's property market had defied the global slowdown during the pandemic, thanks to an influx of wealth from China and other countries. However, discontent over renting costs has become a political issue, and the government is facing calls to regulate rents more effectively.

While rental hikes have hit expats harder, with many unable to afford to buy homes, the issue of renting is also affecting young Singaporeans. A survey last year revealed that two in three Singaporeans between the ages of 22 and 29 are choosing to rent due to insufficient savings.

As the rental market cools, it remains to be seen how the government will address the issue of affordability and housing for both locals and expats alike. The real estate landscape in Singapore is shifting, and policymakers will need to find a delicate balance to ensure sustainable growth and housing options for all.

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