Why Tight Market Supply Is still Driving Prices Up

Tightening of supply in Singapore

The covid-19 pandemic has taken the world by quite some surprise. The urgency, unrest, and general situation of chaos have led us towards much unsettling news over the past 2 years. However, there has been an unpredicted result of the pandemic – demand for housing along with an increase in buyers’ interest.   Tight Market Supply has been a huge factor in driving prices up.  

Adding to that,  low-interest rates was a huge tailwind that fanned the rising prices.  As if that wasn’t enough, long lockdowns have encouraged a lot of people to use their money to buy their first-ever houses because they have no expensive holidays to pay for. 


Singapore Property Price Trend – the case of Tight Supply



One aspect of the pandemic was an increase in demand for private property Singapore. However, simultaneously, lack of labor along with problems in receiving construction material due to global shortage led to constrained supply. The result was an increase in Singapore property prices. 

The housing demand and supply in Singapore have to be dealt with following extreme caution. The government has a two-tiered system – the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and a Housing and Development Board  (HDB) to make the most optimal usage of land available. It also allows them to offer high-end apartments along with also making housing units that provide an affordable housing option to those who can’t afford the high-end housing. 

So, Singapore’sUrban Redevelopment Authority (URA) oversees creating master and urban zoning plans. The authority looks over and approves private residential projects. These projects include high-end apartments and condominiums. So, these are priced as per the market prices and are sold at higher prices. 

Next, we have the Housing and Development Board (HDB). An interesting fact to note about the housing and development board is that it doesn’t work to earn profits. On the contrary, their goal is to create sufficient housing, and they’re working in deficits. These deficits are then covered by the grants issued by the Singapore government. The prices of housing and development board are insulated from the market. Statistics show that nearly 80% of Singapore’s population lives in HDB flats.   Their basic mandate: To provide affordable housing to the population.

The Current Situation In Singapore Property Prices against Demand


Singapore government introduced new cooling measures 2021 in December of 2021. The primary goal behind these Singapore property cooling measures was to stabilize the market because prices was increasingly rampant. It objective was, as its namesake, to cool-off the rapidly rising prices of housing.

653 new private residential units were solved in April, whereas 654 private residential units were sold in March, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Supply was barely keeping up with Demand.  

It is interesting to note that it is different from last year’s April. In comparison, 1270 units were sold in April 2021, along with four property launches. So, it can be expected that the sales will pick up pace as the number of interested buyers in increasing along with a tight market supply. 

However, the upper end of the private residential market wasn’t hugely impacted by the cooling measures 2021. Research shows that there was an increase in the sales of private housing in the upper end. Construction costs are also on the rise, and it can increase the cost of private homes. 


Lowest Volume of New Units launched in 2022


2022 is witnessing the lowest volume of units launched in the last 19 years in Singapore. This steadily increasing gap between the supply and the demand is having a huge impact on Singapore real estate. The problems with supply are impacting two major factors –property prices and the rent prices in Singapore. 

So, the combination of increasing demand with a shortened supply is driving up the prices of Singapore Real Estate. The decrease in supply is impacted by the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a shortage of manpower along with a shortage of supply coming from global destinations. The situation is getting better. However, it will take a considerable amount of time before the supply in the housing market is in full swing. 

Investors are expecting ease in pandemic restrictions in the following month. It will have a positive impact on the market conditions and will promote more people to become first-time buyers in Singapore. 

The recent launch of Piccadilly Grand saw 77% sold within the first weekend of its launch.  Its average price was a whopping $2,150psf.  90% were Singaporeans.   And 100% were first-time buyers!  Prices in $2,xxx is now the new norm.

Adding to current situation, the borders re-opening would mean, the return of foreigners, along with a decrease in supply, signifies that both HDB and the demand for private residential market should remain buoyant in the next quarters of 2022. 

Another factor to consider is the increase in the property affordability rating. Adjusting inflation and the increase in prices, HBD owners can still earn a significant return on selling their HBD flats. It has played a vital role in increasing their budget and helping them move up to better locations. Subsequently, another factor to consider is an increase in the number of people earning in a household. An HBD household with two main earners can plan a higher budget for their next property upgrade. 

URA data has shown that RCR showed the highest new sales volume in April. It was followed by the Core Central Region (CCR) and the Outside Central Region(OCR). There are low levels of unsold stock in the OCR region, indicating that buyers (HBD upgraders) have increased their budget and have moved towards the next tier of private housing. 

The Impact Of Cooling Measures 2021


A slowed growth was witnessed in the first quarter of 2022 in the Singapore Real Estate Market. The cooling measures included tighter lending requirements and higher stamp duties. However, prices continue to climb due to the increase in demand and lack of supply in the real estate market. Unsold stock in the market was found to be at its lowest in recent years. The unsold stock was 14,087 units in the first quarter of 2022. 

In comparison, the previous low was 16,929 unit sets in the second quarter of 2017. The price of private property in Singapore has increased by 0.7% in the first three months of 2022. Last year, it increased by 5% in the same duration. However, it can easily be predicted that the demand is strong, and prices are going on an increment despite the cooling measures issued by the government in 2021. 

There are upcoming launches in the pipelines. However, most of these launches are in areas bought by the housing and development authority upgraders. The HDB upgraders usually have to sell their HDB property within six months of buying in a new launch. So, it can be said that they will be less impacted by the increase in the ABSD rates when compared to parties buying property as investments or foreigners. 


Rich Families And Investment Plans In The Singapore Real Estate


The Singapore government recently tightened the regulations on family offices in Singapore. However, it seems that there has been no negative impact on wealthy investors. The number of investors willing to invest in Singapore, specifically in real estate, is on the rise.

The Rise of Family Offices in Singapore over the past years have shown that Singapore is indeed a hotbed for the Rich foreigners seeking refuge, political stability and a favorable tax structure.

 The Singapore government introduced the global Investor Programme to give Singapore Permanent residence to eligible investors. The goal was to bring investors that would invest in their businesses in Singapore. It would have helped the investors in gaining permanent residency for their families and themselves. Subsequently, it’d have helped the government in fostering growth and providing a boost to the economy. 

The government investor program was introduced in 2004, and it has been reported that around 1800 applicants were granted permanent residence status in 2017’s version of the scheme. The covid-19 pandemic has impacted people differently globally. One such impact on the ultra-rich was their mission to secure and increase their wealth via GIP Singapore. 

The tightening of government regulations means that the investors have to put up with specific government pre-requisites. Additionally, it has also bound them to demonstrate their long-term commitment to Singapore. These investors come from different backgrounds. Many of them are from North and South Asia, while some of them are from Southeast Asian locations like Indonesia and Malaysia. Interestingly, an increase has been observed in investors coming from Hong Kong and mainland China. 

According to GIP, the family office fund should have a minimum of $10 Million at the point of application. Subsequently, they should also be able to raise the value of assets to $20 million in 2 years. Another regulation requires family offices to employ a minimum of 10 people. Additionally, 5 of them should be Singaporeans. 

Typically, it might have dissuaded the investors, but their numbers are increasing. Singapore is proving to be the right place of investment for many wealthy families due to numerous reasons. 

Prices have very little Option but to Rise


There is no denying that the pandemic has played an important role in causing a shortage of manpower and supply from global locations. Additionally, an increase in demand for housing paired with a decrease in supply indicates that the prices will continue to climb up in the upcoming months. The first quarter of 2022 has seen the lowest number of units launched in a quarter. Additionally, the influx of investors as part of the GIP, along with the increased interest of foreigners, also signifies that the demand for housing is not likely to die any soon. 

Hence, it can be anticipated that the prices will probably climb because of the low volume of sales and strong demand from local and foreign buyers. 

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