Friday, July 18, 2008

Prime Residential Rents Could Fall 4.5% By Year End

Source : The Straits Times, July 18, 2008

RESIDENTIAL rents in Singapore's prime districts could drop by 4.5 per cent by year end, amid fears of a longer-than-expected downturn in the United States.

Property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said the high rentals seen in the Republic's prime districts last year are now facing downward pressure.

Prime properties are typically located in districts nine to 11 with units ranging in size from 500 to 2,000 sq ft.

JLL South-east Asia and Singapore managing director Chris Fossick said in a press conference yesterday: 'Expatriates with lower housing budgets are moving out to the non-prime market, causing typical prime rentals to ease marginally in the first half of this year.'

According to JLL, luxury prime property rentals softened by 1 per cent in the year-to-date while typical prime rents weakened by 2 per cent.

Said JLL: 'With the US economy facing the potential of a longer downturn than expected due to the sub-prime woes, credit crunch and rising inflation, market sentiments continue to weaken in Singapore.

'The level of residential collective sales has dropped to only two transactions worth $55.3 million in the first half of the year compared with51 transactions worth some $9.33 billion over the same period last year.'

JLL forecasts that average resale prices in the central district are expected to ease about 1 per cent year-on-year by next year while mass-market resale prices will most likely maintain current levels.

Meanwhile, prices in the luxury prime market are expected to contract the most, falling some 11 to 13 per cent year-on-year next year.

However, Mr Fossick believes that once the US housing crisis passes, a recovery in this region will be swift given the sentiment-driven nature of the industry.

'The uncertainty in the US is unlikely to clear up in the next six months, but if things begin to look up after that, we could see a rapid turnaround here as soon as early next year.'

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