By Mr. Propwise

From the URA’s flash estimate of the 2Q2011 Property Price Index, property prices in Singapore have (again) hit an all time high. Prices were up 1.9% in 2Q2011 on a quarter-on-quarter basis and 10.1% on a year-on-year basis.

At the current levels the price index is 14.3% above the previous 2Q2008 peak, and 11.8% above the previous all time high in 2Q1996. Of course, as long as the price index keeps rising, it’ll keep making an all time high.

What is interesting to note is that the rate of growth has been slowing for 7 quarters, i.e. property price growth has been decelerating. The media and other experts have been attributing this to the government measures, uncertainty over the global financial situation etc.

I personally think that many are surprised that the rate of growth is still positive, i.e. prices are still rising. This could suggest that the upward force from the abundant liquidity situation is still stronger than the downward pressure from the government measures and shaky external situation. But it is hard to make such judgments as the data has a time lag and it also takes time before we can assess the impact of the measures. And nobody (not even the Government) can predict where prices are going – the market is too complex and the future too uncertain to predict.

Another interesting thing to note is that we saw this decelerating price growth trend preceding the property bear markets that began in 3Q2000 and 3Q2008 (but not the one in 3Q1996). So regardless of whether you are more a “technical” or “fundamental” investor (or both), it pays to be cautious in this market.

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