Singapore's residential vacancies climbed to highest in 9 years

Posted on January 23, 2015 07:20:20 PM | BREAKING NEWS

SINGAPORE landlords are facing the highest level of residential vacancies in nine years, as large numbers of new properties are released onto the market and fewer expatriates come to live in the country.

The vacancy rate for residential property rose to 7.8 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from 7.1 percent in the third quarter and the highest level since the last three months of 2005, according to data released today by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

As Singapore's property market cools following five years of price gains, the number of empty apartments is on the rise, putting pressure on some landlords and giving the upper hand to tenants who are renegotiating their leases.

Singapore's home prices fell 4 percent in 2014, the first year-on-year decline since 2008. The government in 2013 added to its five-year campaign to rein in property values with some of the strictest measures, including a requirement that banks ensure that borrowers' total debt repayments don't exceed 60 percent of their total income.

More than 20,000 new private homes will come onto the market in 2015 and again in 2016, up from about 17,911 in 2014, according to the URA.

The number of Singapore employment passes issued to foreigners in the first half of 2014 rose only 0.9 percent to 176,600, as the government restricted immigration after losing votes on the issue in the 2011 election. That compares with a more than 20 percent jump in such passes in each of the two years to 2011, data from the Ministry of Manpower showed. Passes issued fell 0.9 percent in 2012 and rose 0.7 percent in 2013. -- Bloomberg