Happy Lunar New Year to you and your family. May the Year of the Rabbit bring abundance, health and happiness! As this is the first post of 2023, I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your unconditional support and trust in me. This year will be no different. I will continue to serve to the best of my ability, and provide my most honest and transparent advice on the housing market. Without further ado, let us dive into today’s article on how the property market will pan out for 2023.
From a new war in Europe, to record-high interest rates, to new cooling measures, 2022 was definitely a rollercoaster for the property market. As we take on a new year, let us explore what to expect in 2023 for the property market based on what we currently know, starting with the possible upsides of 2023.
Possible Upsides of 2023
- Resale Flat Buyers may see Prices Moderate
- Rental Market Likely to Remain Strong
- A Handful of Condos Nearing their ABSD Deadline
- Shift towards a Buyer’s Market
Resale Flat Buyers may see Prices Moderate
HDB flat prices may start to taper for various reasons. Firstly, around 23,000 flats are expected to be injected into the market in 2023 to meet rising demand. Resale prices will not adjust immediately but gradually, over time, we can expect prices to moderate. Secondly, the latest cooling measures implemented in September 2022 imposed a 15 months waiting period for private homeowners who are looking to downsize to a resale flat. This effectively reduced the pool of buyers who could afford exorbitant resale flat prices after selling their private property at a market peak, thereby preventing resale flat prices from continuing its upward trend.
Rental Market Likely to Remain Strong
With Covid-19 becoming an endemic, we notice an increasing influx of foreign workers. We could also expect more expats as the government introduced a new work visa rule late last year to attract foreign talents into Singapore.
Landlords on the ground also noticed an increasing number of locals renting which is understandable given how many expressed concerns about having their own space during Covid-19.
A Handful of Condos Nearing their ABSD Deadline
Given that developers have a 5-year period from the date of acquiring land to rebuild and sell out all units, there are a handful of developers who will be desperate to move units as the ABSD deadline looms over them. During this period, you may be able to find some value-buys as developers offer discounts. Coupled with soaring mortgage rates, it may even be possible to find units that are cheaper when initially launched. For those who are keen, you may reach out to me for a list of projects nearing their deadline.
Shift towards a Buyer’s Market
For home buyers, who have faced climbing property prices for almost the whole of 2022, this may be good news as sellers are expected to lose the upper hand and be more realistic in setting their selling price. Besides the high-interest rate environment, the increase in BTO supply will adjust the equilibrium price for residential properties in Singapore. However, due to housing supply being inelastic in nature, we won’t see this adjustment in price immediately. Furthermore, most of the mega projects which were launched in 2019/20 will be completed this year. This means that we can expect an increase in supply of ready-to-move-in units into the market.
Possible Downsides of 2023
- Higher Interest Rate Environment
- Fewer New Launches to Choose From
- New Launch Prices may Price HDB Upgraders Out of the Market
- Rising Labour & Material Costs
Higher Interest Rate Environment
Since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008/9, we have been used to mortgage rates of around 2% per annum. Based on expert’s analysis, mortgage rates for 2023 does not seem to be bound to dip anytime soon. Coupled with the fact that stamp duties have also risen, home buyers and developers will err to the side of caution. Despite our inventory being at an all-time-low, we have yet to see any ‘en-bloc fever’ mainly because developers are concerned about not being able to sell out the entire project within 5 years. However, given that the demand for housing is still not met, developers still want to acquire land to redevelop. They just seem to be playing it more cautiously.
Fewer New Launches to Choose From
This brings us to the next point. Considering the diminishing inventory and high demand, the number of new launches for 2023 is rather modest. An estimate of around 40 new launches — one mega-development in Dunman Road, two of it being new Executive Condominiums (ECs), and only three large developments (around 600 units) is expected to be injected into the market. With a total of around 11,000 new units, this is far from recent years. Fundamentally, unless the housing price equilibrium is not adjusted by increasing supply to meet demand, housing prices will remain high.
New Launch Prices may Price HDB Upgraders Out of the Market
While new launch prices are not expected to dip anytime soon, the pace of rising prices is expected to slow in 2023. With higher land betterment charges and increase in developer’s ABSD to 40%, there is almost no chance that new launches can see significant price drops. Developer margins are just too narrow to allow for much discounts.
It is now a norm for new suburban condos to be priced at an average of $2000 psf which may be out of budget for many HDB upgrades who will likely turn to the resale market in 2023.
Rising Labour & Material Costs
We have already experienced rising labour and material costs for almost half of 2022. If fuel prices end up surging from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, this will cause logistical disruptions and developers will be forced to pass on these additional costs to home buyers.
2023 may be one of the most unpredictable years. With inflation just around the corner, prudent investment is all the more crucial to ensure that our hard-earned cash is not eroded. Looking on the bright side, the US Fed policymakers are encouraged by the recent easing of US inflation. We can expect smaller interest rate hikes and peak rates in 2023. However, the Fed also wants to be certain that inflation is beaten before cutting rates.
My prediction for housing prices in 2023 is expected to remain high. However, if you are not in a rush, your decision on whether you should enter the market should not be based on whether prices will increase. As mentioned, prudency must be exercised in such volatile times. In any uncertainty, always do your due diligence or consult an expert to weigh your options.
I hope this article serves purposeful in helping you make a more well-informed decision, regardless of whether you’re purchasing a property for own-stay or investment. As always, feel free to share your opinion in the comment section and I will take time to address them when I can. Till next time!