Real Estate

Slump in Singapore prime property worst globally

A general view shows private condominiums in Singapore.
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

Prime residential property prices in Singapore saw the sharpest decline over the past year out of the 32 cities profiled in residential and commercial property consultancy Knight Frank's latest Prime global Cities Index.

Prices fell 7.7 percent in the 12 months to June 14, the index showed.

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Knight Frank classifies 'prime property' as the most desirable and normally most expensive in a defined location.

According to Alice Tan, director and head of consultancy and research at Knight Frank's Singapore office, the luxury segment of the property market has been significantly affected by government's series of cooling measures - which it first began in 2009.

Property prices in Singapore - which is deemed one of the world's most expensive cities to buy a home - have surged over 60 percent since 2009 thanks to record-low global interest rates and quantitative easing in developed economies, stoking fears of the formation of a bubble.

"Especially since the early part of 2013, we have seen the luxury segment experience more pronounced falls," she said.

"This is mainly because of one of the property cooling measures - which is the 15 percent Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty [on top on the 3 percent stamp duty] imposed on foreign home buyers - who form a significant proportion of the luxury home buyers' market. This has led to transactions falling by more than half, and therefore effected prices," added Tan.

Tan told CNBC luxury properties located in the core central region have seen five consecutive quarters of price declines.

Nowadays, a typical property in this area with a square footage of between 1,600 and 2,000, will sell for 2,500 Singapore dollars ($1,999) per square foot, according to Tan, which would equate to 4 million Singapore dollars ($3.1 million) and 5 million Singapore dollars ($3.9 million) respectively.

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Where to look in Singapore's property market
Where to look in Singapore's property market

Global perspective

Looking at the prime residential property market globally, however, Knight Frank said the trend was broadly upwards.

Prices rose 6.2 percent on average in the year to June 14, across the index's 32 cities.

Out of the 32 cities tracked, 27 saw positive annual price growth in this sector in the year to mid-June, an improvement on last year, when 21 saw a positive increase.

Jakarta and Dublin stood out with 27.3 percent and 23.5 percent increases respectively. Although in both instances prime residential property markets slowed in the second quarter.

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In Dubai, government cooling measures - including a mortgage cap and doubling of transfer fees at the end of 2013 - seem to be having an impact on properties at the top of the scale there. Prime prices only rose 6.3 percent in the year to June, slower than the 11.7 percent rise in the first quarter.

Also notably, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco all recorded double digit annual price growth placing them in the top 10 rankings.

"With the gradual withdrawal of stimulus measures in the U.S. and the U.K., the prospect of rising interest rates and the continual enforcement of cooling measures across much of Asia, it would be logical to assume the index's performance would be weakening," said Kate Everett-Allen of Knight Frank.

"However, the index's annual increase of 6.2 percent in the year to June is above the long-run average of 4.6 percent recorded since Lehman's collapse in the third quarter of 2008, underlining the extent to which prime property has become a favored asset class globally," she added.