Singapore's home prices in the fourth quarter, which saw the strongest quarterly increase in 2012, raises further risks that the government will introduce new measures to cool the housing market, property consultant Colliers International said in a note.
According to preliminary data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore's private home prices rose 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previous three months. The Housing and Development Board's flash estimate also showed resale prices of public housing units rose 2.5 percent in October-December from the third quarter.
"The increased momentum in the quarter-on-quarter price up-trend, particularly in the mass-market housing segment, as well as the return of buying interest in the high-tier segments, are likely to keep the authorities high on guard again and have further heightened policy risks in the residential sector," said Colliers.
However, it noted that Singapore's private home prices rose 2.8 percent for 2012, slower than a 5.89 percent rise in 2011, indicating the government's cooling measures have been effective to a certain extent in moderating price growth.
CIMB Research continues to prefer developers who are less focused on Singapore's residential market, such as CapitaLand Ltd and UOL Group Ltd.
The brokerage expects demand to remain resilient in 2013, although larger supply of new homes and more discounts and residential launches could rein in prices and volumes.
CapitaLand shares were up 1.4 percent at S$3.75 while City Developments Ltd was up 1.2 percent at S$13.03. Property developers in Singapore outperformed the broader market last year, with the FTSE ST Real Estate Index jumping 47.6 percent against the Straits Times Index's 19.7 percent rise.
(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by G.Ram Mohan; email@example.com)
9:46 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC ups CityDev target price
OCBC Investment Research raised its target price for property developer City Developments Ltd to S$14.05 from S$13.96 and kept its 'buy' rating, citing higher average selling prices for its residential units.
By 0137 GMT, CityDev shares were up 1 percent at S$13, after rising 44.6 percent in 2012.
OCBC noted that CityDev sold units at its latest condominium launch, Echelon, at around S$1,700 per square foot on average, which was above expectations.
The brokerage estimates that the breakeven for Echelon is S$1,200 per square foot, which translates to an attractive gross profit margin of about 40 percent for the project.
"We continue to see CityDev as the best-in-class amongst domestic residential developers due to its strength in project execution, ability to read the market, and its effective risk-weighted approach to land banking," said OCBC in a report.