Things looking up for property market

The property market appears to be finally clawing its way out of what has been a lengthy rut.

Declines in private home prices and rents slowed in the fourth quarter, and sales of new units picked up.

The office and retail space segments, although still challenging, also offered some bright spots.

Things looking up for property market

While the numbers do not warrant popping the champagne, they point to improving market confidence.

The optimism stems from data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday. It showed that overall private home prices saw the slowest rate of decline last year amid a three-year losing streak – down 3.1 per cent compared with drops of 3.7 per cent in 2015 and 4 per cent in 2014.

There was also improvement at the end of last year, with overall prices dipping 0.5 per cent from the third quarter to the fourth, much better than the 1.5 per cent drop from the second to the third quarter.

Price declines have been the norm since the third quarter of 2013, after cooling measures tamed property demand and sent values of private homes down by about 11 per cent.

The softer prices wooed buyers back last year, boosting new home sales to 7,972 units (excluding executive condominiums), up from the 7,440 shifted in 2015.  

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