SINGAPORE – Rental volumes shrank in August for both non-landed private homes and HDB flats compared to July, according to SRX’s latest flash data released on Wednesday (Sept 11).

Meanwhile, rents edged up for condominiums but fell slightly for HDB flats on a month-on-month basis.

About 4,306 condo units in Singapore were leased in August – down 18 per cent from the 5,252 units in July. Year on year, rental volumes for condos shrank 17.5 per cent from August 2018.

However, compared to the five-year average volume for the month of August, last month’s figure was only 1.6 per cent lower.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, said that the month-on-month decline in condo rental volume is consistent with what was observed over the past two years, with volume dipping 4.4 per cent in August 2018 and 8.1 per cent in August 2017.

“This slowdown is within expectation, as rental volume usually peaks in July before tapering off in August,” Ms Sun noted.

“Many foreign expatriates would have renewed their leases or signed new contracts by the third quarter of the year, therefore leasing demand is expected to moderate further as the year-end approaches,” she added.

In terms of price segments, the largest portion of condos rented this August came from units priced at $2,000 to $4,000 monthly, accounting for 65.6 per cent of volume. This was followed by units from $4,001 to $6,000 which made up 16 per cent of rental volume, units below $2,000 totalling 9.3 per cent, and those from $6,001 to $10,000 at 7.7 per cent.

The smallest proportion came from the priciest units – those above $10,000 – which accounted for just 1.4 per cent.

Overall rents for condos inched up by 0.2 per cent last month from July, and grew by 3 per cent year on year. Condo rents in August were down 16.5 per cent from their peak in January 2013.

Condos in the core central region (CCR) saw rents going up by 0.3 per cent in August from the previous month, while those in the city fringes or rest of central region (RCR) rose 0.9 per cent. However, in the suburbs or outside central region (OCR), rents dropped slightly by 0.5 per cent from July.

Year on year, condo rents in all regions increased: CCR by 4.4 per cent, RCR by 3.1 per cent, and OCR by 1.7 per cent.

As for the public housing market, rental volumes likewise slumped, by over one-fifth or 22.2 per cent month on month. Some 1,490 HDB flats were rented in August, versus 1,915 units in July. Year on year, volumes tumbled by 20.7 per cent from 1,879 in August 2018.

Compared to the five-year average HDB rental volume for the month of August, last month’s volume was a substantial 16.4 per cent lower.

By flat sizes, four-room units were the most popular last month, making up 36.4 per cent of total HDB rental volume. Three-room flats accounted for 35.4 per cent of volume, five-room flats took up 22.2 per cent, while executive flats accounted for 5.9 per cent.

Overall rents for HDB flats were largely steady, dipping 0.1 per cent from July. Year on year, they rose by 0.7 per cent. But HDB rents in August 2019 were still down 14.6 per cent from the peak in August 2013.

Rents increased for three-room and executive flats in August, up 1.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively from a month ago.

On the other hand, rents fell for four-room and five-room flats, down 0.6 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

Year on year, all flat sizes except for executive flats experienced higher rents in August: three-room flats’ rents were up 2.1 per cent, four-room rents rose 0.3 per cent, five-room rents increased 0.6 per cent, while executive rents fell by 2.2 per cent.

In non-mature estates, rents dipped 0.3 per cent from a month ago, while those in mature estates remained unchanged.