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Weaker property market hits private home prices, developers

 
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October 25, 2008

Singapore: Weaker property market hits private home prices, developers
Singapore private home prices fell 2.4 percent in the third quarter, worse than an initial estimate of a 1.8 percent drop as the property market weakened sharply at the end of September, reported Reuters.

Rents during the July-September period fell 0.9 percent after gaining 2.5 percent in the three months to June, the government's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said on Friday. Homes in prime areas registered the biggest price decline of 2.7 percent.

"We know the property markets turned so the revised figures were not a huge surprise. It's more than likely the fourth quarter will see a sharper decline," said Song Seng Wun, Singapore-based economist at Malaysian investment bank CIMB.

The fall in Singapore home prices in the three months to September marked the first decline in four years and coincides with the economy's descent into recession during the quarter.

Demand for government-built HDB apartments remained firm during the third quarter as prices gained 4.2 percent, a separate index from the Housing Development Board showed. The increase was, however, slower than the second quarter's 4.5 percent gain.

Shares of Singapore-listed CapitaLand , Southeast Asia's largest developer, fell further after the data's release, and were down 6.5 percent by 0630 GMT.

City Developments , the region's number two property firm, declined 6.9 percent. Real estate trusts were also hit with Suntec REIT down 9.5 percent.

URA said its price index for residential property in the city-state stood at 173.3 at the end of September compared with 177.5 at end-June.

Singapore releases advance estimates on property prices shortly after the end of each quarter based primarily on transactions during the first 10 weeks of the period. The government subsequently issues detailed data for the period that includes price changes by region as well as rental trends.

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