More than half of Singaporeans in PropertyGuru poll may delay plans to buy home due to inflation fears

SINGAPORE – More Singaporeans are re-evaluating plans to buy a home, a PropertyGuru poll found, with 55 per cent of those surveyed saying they may defer their purchase till property prices stabilise and inflation falls, and 24 per cent likely to shelve the idea altogether.

Nearly four in 10 Singaporeans also felt priced out of the market for the second half of 2022, compared with 25 per cent who felt somewhat or definitely unable to buy a property in the first six months of the year.

PropertyGuru’s latest report on consumer sentiment for the first half of 2023, which polled 1,000 Singaporeans in November 2022, was released on Tuesday.

Among those looking to buy, 31 per cent are now considering Build-To-Order (BTO) flats – nearly double the figure for the same January to June period in 2022.

This sentiment is highest among younger Singaporeans aged 22 to 29 and lower-income individuals, according to PropertyGuru. More than 60 per cent of Singaporeans who intend to purchase a BTO flat are drawn to its affordability.

ERA Realty Network head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said the increase in people considering BTO flats could signal that buyers are regaining confidence in the BTO market.

Possible reasons for the change include a shorter waiting time for flats post-pandemic, the building of BTO flats in attractive locations and the launching of more projects to increase supply, he said.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee and Tie, also said BTO flats are considered the most affordable option on the market now, and buyers may prefer these flats because they can take up Housing Board loans.

As interest rates rise, 68 per cent of HDB buyers and owners are opting to take up HDB loans, PropertyGuru’s study found.

This is compared with 50 per cent in the first half of 2022, which started off with the three-month compounded Singapore Overnight Rate Average (Sora) – a key benchmark for mortgage rates – at near-zero levels.

Huttons Asia senior director of research Lee Sze Teck noted that the three-month compounded Sora was 3.2 per cent on Monday – higher than the HDB concessionary loan rate of 2.6 per cent – which means interest rates offered by private banks will be higher as well.

“There are a lot of savings for buyers if they were to choose an HDB loan,” he said.

Despite growing affordability concerns, the study found that about three in 10 find it reasonable for resale HDB flats to be sold at $1 million or more. This sentiment is higher among those aged 30 to 39, as well as high-income earners.

Almost half of Singaporeans polled said they are affected by the property cooling measures and are now looking for a less expensive home.


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