Friday, July 24, 2015

Singapore private home vacancy hits 10-year high

SINGAPORE: The vacancy rate for private homes in Singapore hit a near-10-year high of 7.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data released on Friday (24 July) showed, indicating there is an oversupply in the residential market.

The latest URA numbers showed there were 25,071 completed but unoccupied private homes as at Jun 30. This was higher than the 22,346 unoccupied units at the end of March and the largest number on record.

Vacant units comprise completed but unsold units as well as those that have been sold but are unoccupied. These include homes that are undergoing renovation.

Real estate company CBRE's Head of Research for Singapore and Southeast Asia Desmond Sim said there may be a lag between the time a project is completed and when occupants move in.

"(But) the reality is that the market is still coping with an overwhelming number of completions," he said.

CBRE expects vacancies in the private home market to inch up further in the current and next quarters, when a further 11,618 units are likely to be completed.

Market watchers have said that the latest curbs on foreign manpower will also drive up vacancies and put downward pressure on rents.

The Manpower Ministry recently said work pass holders will need to earn a minimum fixed monthly salary of S$5,000 to sponsor their spouse or children to stay here on the Dependant's Pass, up from the current S$4,000.

The salary bar will also be higher for who want to bring their parents to Singapore on Long Term Visit Passes - it will be revised to S$10,000 a month, up from S$8,000.

There are 178,900 employment pass holders and 170,100 S Pass holders here as of December 2014, according to the ministry's website.