Researcher predicts muted 2019 demand for Singapore property

  • The rising interest rate environment in the United States may pressure Singapore's residential property market in 2019, an executive from a real estate services and investment firm tells CNBC.
  • "Demand will be a little bit slower on the back of poorer sentiments and also on the back of fear of rising interest rates," says Desmond Sim, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at CBRE.
  • Still, he says, it might not be all bad news for the Asian city-state's property market in 2019 because office real estate can be expected to continue performing well.

The rising interest rate environment in the U.S. may pressure Singapore's residential property market in 2019, an executive from a real estate services and investment firm told CNBC on Wednesday.

As of the third quarter of 2018, prices for Singapore's private residential properties continued to increase, according to a report from real estate agency Knight Frank. "The prices were supported by first-time home buyers and investors seeking Singapore properties for diversification purposes," the report said.

But that may be poised to change, according to Desmond Sim, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at CBRE. Citing poor business sentiments caused by global slowdowns and the U.S. Federal Reserve's streak of hikes this year, he said "muted demand" for residential property in the region is to be expected going forward in 2019.

"Demand will be a little bit slower on the back of poorer sentiments and also on the back of fear of rising interest rates. So, we have projected that demand will likely, you know, come down in the region 7,000 to 8,000 units where we have seen historically it's gone up to 20,000 units before. So definitely more muted demand going forward in 2019," added Sim.

Residential and commercial buildings stand illuminated at dusk in the Kallang area of Singapore, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.
SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Residential and commercial buildings stand illuminated at dusk in the Kallang area of Singapore, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.

"The biggest thing globally that will affect Singapore would predominantly be the rising interest rates environment ... After quantitative easing, cheap liquidity has been a boost to most residential markets. So, I think that was the main concern of the Singapore government that is why they interjected," he said.

In July, the government put cooling measures in place to curb surging prices that reportedly reached about 7 percent during the first half of 2018. Recent local reports have said the pace of residential property price increases are slowing down following those measures.

Office market

Still, Sim said, it might not be all bad news for the Asian city state's property market in 2019 as office real estate can be expected to continue performing well.

"So far, the office market has been doing spectacularly. That's on the back of very tight vacancy, on the back of limited demand going forward for the next two years, tech and co-working space(s) has been very strong in terms of taking up space," he said.

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