URA 4Q22 real estate statistics
The Urban Redevelopment Authority released statistics on the residential, office and retail property market for 4Q22
SINGAPORE, 27 January 2023: The Urban Redevelopment Authority released statistics on the residential, office and retail property market for 4Q22 today.
Ms Chia Siew Chuin, Head of Residential Research, Research & Consultancy, Singapore
谢岫君, 私宅市场研究部主管 (新加坡)
Total private residential transactions fall in 2022 but remain above pre-pandemic levels in 2019
Overall market activity was less buoyant in 2022 due to macroeconomic headwinds, higher prices and interest rates and market cooling measures. However, potential buyers also delayed homebuying due to limited project launches and unsold inventory in the primary as well as the tight supply of units available for sale in the resale market, thereby leading to lower sales volumes.
In the primary market, factoring in the 690 new private home sales (excluding ECs) in 4Q22, developers sold 7,099 new private residential units in full-year 2022. This is a 45.5% fall from 2021’s 13,027 units and the lowest since 2008 when the market was affected by the global financial crisis.
The fall in new home sales in 2022 was largely attributable to limited project launches in the year after a reduction in supply of private residential units on the Confirmed Lists of the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme in 2019 and 1H 2020 following the July 2018 market cooling measures, as well as in 2H 2020 due to potential impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. There were also few collective sales in the last few years. Developers also held back new launches in 2022 due to market curbs implemented in December 2021 and September 2022 which saw total launches in 2022 fall to 4,528 units from 10,496 units in 2021.
Meanwhile, inclusive of the 2,898 units sold in 4Q22, there were 14,791 transactions in the secondary market in 2022 compared with the 20,530 secondary transactions in 2021. Resale transactions fell on the back of interest rate hikes and inflationary pressures, as well as recent market curbs amid weaker economic conditions. Owners’ concerns over prospects of finding replacement homes and a mismatch in price expectations also tightened the supply of resale units, thereby capping transaction volume. Nonetheless, the proportion of resale transactions in 2022 has increased from 59.5% in 2021 to 64.1%, reflecting the tight supply in the primary market, thereby channelling buying demand to the secondary market.
In full-year 2022, a total of 21,890 private homes were transacted in both the primary and secondary markets, 34.8% below the 33,557 units recorded in 2021. However, 2022’s total transaction volume was still 14.3% higher than the level in 2019 when the market was weighed down by market cooling measures and 4.7% above the tally during the pandemic in 2020.
Outlook for 2023
Approximately 11,000 new private home units (excluding ECs) could be launched in 2023. The increased line-up of project launches is expected to drive demand. Pent-up demand from potential buyers who sat out of the market due to limited options available in 2022 are expected to return to pick up units.
Well-located projects and those sited in areas where there had been a lack of project launches are expected to be well-received. Those with modest-sized units with more affordable absolute price quantum should also garner interest given affordability considerations amid current market conditions.
Key fundamental drivers including the local population’s strong penchant for private property ownership, healthy household liquidity, a relatively tight employment market as well as the attractiveness of Singapore as a haven for investments for foreigners are expected to continue driving home buying demand. The anticipated return of buyers from China following its border opening is also expected to support demand. Taking cognizance of possible challenges, but barring an adverse turn of macroeconomic conditions, we project 7,000 to 9,000 private (excluding ECs) new home sales in 2023.
Prices inch up 0.4% in 4Q22 after 8.2% hike in first three quarters
Private home price growth slowed to a mere 0.4% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) in 4Q22 after climbing 8.2% in the first three quarters of 2022, which prompted the imposition of loan curbs in September 2022 to ensure prudent borrowing and moderate demand. The flattish growth in 4Q22 compared to the 3.8% rise in 3Q22 showed the effects of market curbs, rising mortgage rates, weaker macroeconomic conditions as well as limited project launch and homebuying activities in 4Q22.
The landed segment led price growth in 4Q22 where prices rose by 0.6% q-o-q, easing from the 1.6% q-o-q increase in 3Q22. Non-landed private home prices crept up 0.3 q-o-q, slowing from the 4.4% q-o-q hike in Q3 2022.
The price increase for non-landed homes was led by the Rest of Central Region (RCR), where prices rose 3.1% q-o-q, faster than the 2.8% increase in 3Q22. This was on the back of a dearth of new launches and buyers bought from previously launched projects at higher unit prices.
The launch of a few smallish new projects helped to hold up prices of non-landed home prices in the Core Central Region (CCR), which edged up by 0.7% q-o-q in 4Q22, albeit slower than the 2.3% q-o-q growth in Q3 2022.
Mass market home prices in Outside Central Region (OCR), fell by 2.6% q-o-q in 4Q22 from the high in 3Q22, when a few fresh project launches set benchmarks and lifted prices in region. The lack of major new projects and affordability concerns arising from new loan curbs crimped transactions and price growth in the OCR in 4Q22.
For the full-year 2022, overall private home prices rose by 8.6% in full-year 2022, moderated from the 10.6% escalation in 2021. Since the brief price dip at the onset of COVID-19 in 1Q20, prices have rallied 24% to a record peak as of 4Q22.
Underpinned by limited supply, the price growth of landed homes continued to outpace that of non-landed homes, escalating by 9.6% in the full-year 2022 to reach a record high, albeit slower than the 13.3% year-on-year (y-o-y) gain in 2021. Correspondingly, prices of non-landed homes rose further by 8.1% y-o-y in 2022 to set yet another record high for the segment, following the 9.8% surge in 2021.
The RCR topped the full-year gain for non-landed homes, increasing by 9.7% in 2022, while OCR and CCR posted increases of 9.3% and 4.8% respectively. Since their respective peaks in 2013, RCR non-landed prices are 31.7% higher as at 4Q22 while those of OCR and CCR are 27.7% and 3.0% higher respectively. The lagged price increase in CCR, which is a significant investment sub-market, shows that it has been impacted most by the numerous rounds of market cooling measures imposed, as well as COVID-19 induced country border and travel controls which inhibited foreign investors. OCR home prices remain resilient as the submarket is substantially supported by local buyers and the HDB upgraders’ market while RCR benefits from owner-occupier and investment demand as well as price and rental competitiveness compared to CCR.
Outlook for 2023
We expect private home prices to continue rising in 2023, as housing demand and supply dynamics largely remain supportive of the market. However, growth momentum is projected to moderate to 2% to 4% y-o-y in 2023, as economic conditions could be challenging, keeping buyers prudent amid elevated prices and interest rates as well as market curbs.
The changes in URA’s price indices in 4Q22 are tabulated below.
URA Private Residential Property Price Index Changes
Source: URA, JLL Research
Uncompleted unsold stock rises slightly, but levels remain low
In 4Q22, the total stock of unsold private residential units rose as a result of an increase in the number of uncompleted units yet to be launched and unsold completed units. As at end 4Q22, 16,152 units were unsold, of which 16,024 were uncompleted. Unsold stock rose 12.7% y-o-y but remains 57.3% lower than the pre-COVID peak in 1Q19. Despite the uptick, the level of unsold stock remains fairly low in comparison to the annual average of 26,951 units from 2012 to 2021. The market remains undersupplied which continues to bolster price resilience.
Unsold stock levels could potentially improve in the long-term, though recovery will likely be slow and gradual. Developers remain highly cautious in land acquisition in the current land market as development costs have increased, and economic headwinds continue to loom. In addition, developers could take into consideration a lower floor area efficiency when bidding for sites as the standardisation in floor area computation and definition by the government agencies in Singapore affects all development applications submitted from 1 June 2023 onwards. This could result in a wider discrepancy between the existing mismatch in price expectations between developers and sellers, keeping successful collective sale deals limited.
Robust growth in rents for the third consecutive quarter
Following the 1,424-unit increase in completed stock in 3Q22, completed supply of private residential homes rose by 4,245 units in 4Q22, the highest in six years following a few major project completions in the quarter such as Jadescape (1,206 units) and The Tre Ver (729 units). Similarly, absorption also surged in the quarter by 4,496 units compared to 291 units in 3Q22. Vacancy rates fell in the quarter as a result of net new demand outweighing net new supply, to 5.5% from the 5.7% recorded in the previous quarter.
The rental index for private residential properties continued trending up in 4Q22, rising 7.4% q-o-q as sustained leasing demand spurred growth in rents. Leasing demand continue to come from locals renting in the interim while waiting for their new flats to complete, as well as recent foreign hires by businesses. However, rental growth in 2023 could slow as the expected weaker economic performance is likely to lead to more cautious hiring by businesses. Rising costs could also result in tenant resistance to rental hikes. Rents rose across the board for both landed and non-landed properties, with stronger growths witnessed in the non-landed segment.
For full-year 2022, there were 9,526 new completions, higher than the 6,388 completions seen in 2021. This could be indicative of the gradual recovery in the construction industry as the re-opened borders have allowed a greater inflow of migrant workers into Singapore, easing the manpower shortage within the industry. The larger injection of expected supply in 2023 could also ease the tight rental supply situation, which is one of the key driving factors of soaring rents.
Ms. Tay Huey Ying, Head of Research and Consultancy, Singapore
郑惠匀, 研究与咨询部主管 (新加坡)
Office rents skyrocketed in 2022 but growth is expected to slow in 2023
URA’s 4Q22 real estate statistics released today showed that robust demand for office space on the back of the workplace re-opening propelled the office rent in the Central Region up by 11.7% in 2022. This is not only a sharp acceleration from the 1.9% rise clocked in 2021, it is also the steepest annual increase since the 12.6% recorded in 2010, and underscores the undisputable role of physical offices in the post-pandemic hybrid-working world.
JLL’s research similarly showed that the monthly gross effective rent for the basket of Grade A offices in the CBD surged by 9.4% for full-year 2022, from SGD 10.23 psf/month in 4Q21. This is more than twice the 4.3% increase recorded for 2021.
However, our research also showed that mounting macroeconomic headwinds have started to dampen market confidence, prompting an increasing number of occupiers to put real estate expansion and relocation plans on hold. This slowed leasing activity and rent growth in 4Q22, ending five consecutive quarters of q-o-q rent growth acceleration.
Specifically, the 4Q22 growth in the monthly gross effective rents for JLL’s fixed basket of CBD Grade A office space slowed for the first time since turning around in 2Q21, inching up by just 1.2% q-o-q, to end the year at SGD 11.19 psf/month. This is after rising 3.0% q-o-q to SGD 11.06 psf/month in 3Q22.
Based on an uncontrolled basket of properties and tracking all leasing deals contracted which could vary significantly in terms of quality, specifications and location from quarter to quarter, URA’s 4Q22 real estate statistics showed office rent in the Central Region rose 5.1% in 4Q22, faster than the 2.1% recorded in 3Q22.
Occupier caution that has set in in 4Q22 is likely to intensify in 2023 as the downcast global and domestic economic outlook is expected to weigh down sentiments. Leasing activity is projected to be dominated by renewals and right-sizing while expansions will likely be confined to occupiers with immediate needs to accommodate the significant increase in headcounts in 2022 to cope with business growth.
In light of this, we expect the buoyant office leasing activity seen in 2022 to give way to a more subdued market in 2023 and substantially ease upward pressure on rents. JLL forecasts that the monthly gross effective rents of its basket of Grade A CBD offices could rise by less than 1% in 2023 following the 9.4% spike in 2022.
Against this bakdrop, and exacerbated by the steep spike in interest rates that have driven the spread between yields and borrowing costs into or close to the negative territory, we expect office assets to come under some re-pricing pressure in 2023.
Ms. Angelia Phua, Consulting Director, Research and Consultancy, Singapore
潘慧菁, 顾问董事, 研究与咨询部(新加坡)
URA headline retail property rents and prices continue to drift lower
URA’s statistics, released today, signalled that retailers continue to err on the side of caution amid macroeconomic headwinds. URA’s headline vacancy rates, retail property rents and price indices are down moderately in 4Q22.
According to URA’s 4Q22 real estate statistics, islandwide retail vacancy rates fell 0.7 percentage point q-o-q to 7.1% in 4Q22 from 7.8% in 3Q22. This was due to lower vacancy rates in the Central Region and Outside Central Region, where retail vacancy rates declined 0.5% percentage point q-o-q to 8.7% and 1.0 percentage point q-o-q to 4.0%, respectively, in 4Q22. Within the Central Region, vacancy rates in the Orchard area fell the sharpest by 1.1 percentage point q-o-q to 9.8% in 4Q22.
Singapore’s reopening tailwind continued to drive domestic consumption amidst a healthy labour market and the influx of international visitor arrivals. Encouraged by the rise in shopper traffic and tourist arrivals, retailers with a longer-term perspective continued to pursue business expansions strategically. Additionally, retailers were particularly keen to commit to spaces to capitalise on consumer spending during the year-end festive season and the Lunar New Year in January 2023, which further contributed to the third consecutive quarter of decline in vacancy rates islandwide.
We observed healthy occupier demand in 4Q22 from a range of trades, primarily F&B operations, luxury brands, niche supermarket/ convenience store chains and aesthetic medicine operations.
Despite improved occupier demand, the URA’s retail rent index for the Central Region extended its fourth consecutive quarter of decline, falling 1.1% q-o-q in 4Q22, sharper than the 0.4% q-o-q decline in 3Q22. Macroeconomic headwinds (protracted inflationary pressure and a higher interest rate environment) and a cloudy economic outlook, which posed operational challenges and uncertainty, likely led to caution and rent hike resistance that resulted in falling rents in 4Q22. On a positive note, the rental decline in 2022 has moderated. The URA’s retail rent index for the Central Region fell 2.4% y-o-y in 2022, compared to sharper declines of 14.7% y-o-y and 6.8% y-o-y in 2020 and 2021, respectively, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The URA’s retail property price index for the Central Region also declined for the fourth consecutive quarter, falling 2.1% q-o-q in 4Q22, extending the 3.2% q-o-q decline in 3Q22. This was likely driven by falling retail rents in 4Q22 and investor expectations of higher property yields in a rising interest rate and inflationary environment.
Looking ahead, Singapore’s sustained economic reopening, the recent return of foreign tourists and the impending return of Chinese tourists are tailwinds for driving the retail market. The Singapore Tourism Board expects international visitor arrivals of 12 to 14 million in 2023, a sharp increase from 6.3 million arrivals in 2022. This should continue to attract new-to-market businesses and spur opportunistic expansion. Hence, occupier demand is expected to remain firm and should continue to push overall vacancy rates lower amid limited supply, while supporting rent growth of prime floor space. Rents of prime floor space in JLL Research’s retail assets portfolio are expected to grow by an average of 1.5–2.5% y-o-y in 2023. The rent growth in 2023 is expected to be similar to 2022 as macroeconomic headwinds are likely to temper the upside potential.
Given the favourable supply-demand fundamentals and the scarcity of tradeable assets, coupled with optimism for a recovery in tourism (business and leisure) and resilient domestic consumption, rising rents should underpin prices of prime floor space in quality retail assets, notwithstanding higher yield expectations in a higher interest rate environment.
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $19.4 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 102,000 as of September 30, 2022. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.