Published 9 March 2011
The Business Times
By Uma Shankari
Research on property market may help govt measures target specific segments
The Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) has set up a new unit to conduct targeted research into issues that concern Singapore’s property market.
Among various things, the working group will examine the factors that drive demand for various segments of the residential property market. With this, Redas hopes that future government measures to cool the market, if there are any, can be calibrated to target specific market segments.
The working group will comprise Redas members as well as analysts and researchers from property firms such as CB Richard Ellis, Cushman & Wakefield, DTZ, Jones Lang LaSalle, Knight Frank and Savills.
‘With the market situation so fluid, it is time that we set up this working group,’ Redas chief executive Steven Choo told BT when contacted. ‘We need to have a better handle on a lot of issues.’
He added that more such focus groups could be put together in the future to examine specific topics. Dr Choo is heading the research working group, which was set up after a Redas meeting last week.
For starters, the group will work on coming up with a fresh way of classifying private homes in Singapore and breaking down the pool of properties into categories such as luxury, high-end, mid-tier, and mass-market.
Right now, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) classifies private homes in Singapore by location to compute its quarterly property price index. URA’s three geographic categories are the core central region, rest of central region, and outside central region.
But in addition to location, Redas’s working group will consider factors such as the amenities and design features of developments and the increased popularity of certain areas, which has translated into higher property prices. Not all estates within URA’s outside central region are mass-market locations, industry players have said.
It is also possible that the group could create an index to track prices in a particular segment.
After classifying the properties, the working group intends to analyse the demand drivers for each market segment. It will also look at construction costs and issues of sustainability.
BT understands that Redas is concerned about the possibility of another round of anti-speculation measures from the government.
Last week, a monthly index compiled by the National University of Singapore showed that prices of non-landed private homes rose 2.6 per cent in January – despite the government announcing more demand-side cooling measures in the middle of the month. Private home prices rose 17.6 per cent last year, according to URA’s official index.
National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan also told Parliament last week that the government is ‘determined to do whatever is necessary to maintain market stability’.
Dr Choo added that Redas is also setting up the new working group in line with its ‘twin focus’ to educate as well as advocate for the real estate industry at large.
Last year, the industry body teamed up with the National University of Singapore’s Department of Real Estate in a historic move to develop a real estate sentiment index. The index is based on a quarterly structured-questionnaire survey conducted among senior executives of Redas member firms – mostly developers but also property consultants, architects, quantity surveyors and other professionals.