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Pickup in interest from potential buyers?

Pickup in interest from potential buyers?

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After a long, plodding downtrend, Singapore's housing market may be gathering forces for a rebound. Sigrid Zialcita, managing director for Asia Pacific research at Cushman & Wakefield, told CNBC's "The Rundown" last week that she expected a turning point in prices "very soon."

She pointed to the government's recent move to ease some of its curbs on the sector as the reason for the market's changing fortunes.  Upcoming executive condo  launches include Hundred Palms Residences EC, Anchorvale Lane EC,  while existing ones include Parc Life EC, Signature at Yishun,  Brownstone EC , Visionaire EC, Inz Residence EC, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, , Sol Acres EC and The  Bellewoods EC. Hundred Palms Residences details and Hundred Palms EC show flat will be available shortly.

"That actually boosted sentiment in the market. We've seen an increase in foot traffic and it's incentivizing a lot of buyers," she said.
Others also noted that the government's decision to loosen the reins may be spurring more property activity.

Hari Krishnan, CEO of website PropertyGuru, pointed to more optimism, with the number of property listings in the first quarter rising 2.0 per cent on-year and 2.4 per cent in March. "These increases could be indicative of an uplift in seller sentiment," he said via email this week. That hasn't been reflected in prices yet. In the first quarter, overall private home prices fell 0.5 per cent on-quarter, the 14th straight quarter of declines. This time around, however, the bulk of the decline was in relatively small landed property segment, while non-landed prices were steady.

The city-state's housing prices surged more than 60 per cent from 2009 through 2013, propelled by rock-bottom global interest rates and quantitative easing in developed economies, even as the government enacted a series of cooling measures from 2011 to prevent a bubble from forming. The measures, including an Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty which could add as much as an additional 15 per cent to the price, appeared to have eventually met with some success, with the property price index falling around 11 per cent from the peak in the third quarter of 2013 through the end of 2016, according to data from Deutsche Bank in January.

Now, the government may have a more sanguine view, taking moves in early March to scale back some of the curbs, including lowering the seller's stamp duty and shortening the minimum holding period to avoid it. In a note late week, analysts at Citi also pointed to a sudden "sentiment uplift" after the policy easing, although it added that the "exuberance" might be overdone. Indeed, the note indicated that while it would be more economically rational for potential buyers to wait for more substantial policy easing or for further discounts from developers running up against government-mandated sales deadlines, "the market sentiment in Singapore tends to work the other way - sidelined buyers rush back to the market at the first hint of easing, for fear of losing out."

Citi noted it was "impossible" to determine how much of an impact the move had on recent sales volume, but it pointed to one launch last week, of Park Place Residences, which sold its entire phase one, initially set at 40 per cent of the 429-unit total before being raised to 50 per cent, within a day. To be sure, the development boasted a strong location and was arguably priced competitively. Other indicators also suggested the pickup in interest from potential buyers may pre-date the policy easing.


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