HDB, private rentals in Singapore shrink in August

Declines outpace those of the last two years

Singapore city skyline at night. ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Both private and public housing rentals in Singapore slowed down in August, according to a media flash report issued by SRX Wednesday.

The rental volume for non-landed private homes in the city-state hit just 4,306 units in August, a staggering 18-percent monthly decline and a year-on-year drop of 17.5 percent.

Similarly, the rental volume for Housing and Development Board (HDB) units dropped 22.2 percent on the month to 1,490 units—a decline of 20.7 percent annually.

The decline eclipses figures of the last two years, with private home rentals in August 2018 slipping just 4.4 percent month-on-month to 5,221 units. Private home rentals had also shrunk just 8.1 percent to 4,610 units in the month to August 2017.

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The slowdown in private rental volumes is “within expectation” because they usually reach a peak in July before tapering off in August, according to Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie Pte Ltd. “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.”

The drop in HDB leases may be attributed to a seasonal fall as well as slower-than-expected growth in the services and manufacturing sectors as a result of US-China trade tensions and slowing economies in China and the EU. “There could be some upward pressure on unemployment for these sectors, which may adversely impact the HDB rental market in the coming months,” said Sun.

Last month’s monthly decline of 22.2 percent in HDB leases marks a steeper plunge than that of August 2018 when rental volumes slid 6.8 percent month-on-month to 1,879 units. In August 2017, rentals descended 5.2 percent on the month to 1,778 units.