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Condo, HDB rentals rise in November despite tightened border rules due to Omicron

SINGAPORE – The rental markets for Housing Board flats and private apartments continued to rise last month despite tighter border rules by some countries in response to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Rents and leasing volume for both HDB flats and condominium units rose last month compared with October, thanks to the setting up of more vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs), according to flash data from real estate portals 99.co and SRX released on Wednesday (Dec 15).

Monthly rents for condos rose by 1.1 per cent last month, with price growth observed across the board in central Singapore, city fringes and the suburbs.

Year on year, condo rents were up 10 per cent from November last year.

Rental volume for the condo market increased by 1.7 per cent to an estimated 4,696 units, compared with 4,612 in October. The biggest share of units rented was located in the suburbs, which made up 39.6 per cent of total rental volume.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, noted that the overall increased connectivity with various countries continued to benefit the rental market, despite some tightening of border rules after the emergence of Omicron.

Ms Sun added that demand for rental homes is outstripping supply in the market.

“Construction delays have slowed the completion of new homes, while housing stock has been removed since a number of landlords have sold their units. Some home owners who have sold their flats or condominiums recently have also rented units as they wait for the completion of their new homes or for prices to fall before buying a new home,” she said.

Rents for HDB flats rose for the 17th consecutive month last month – by 0.8 per cent – across all flat types in both mature and non-mature estates.

Compared with November last year, HDB rents were 9.2 per cent higher.

More HDB flats were also leased last month, up by 2.6 per cent to an estimated 1,792 units, compared with 1,746 units in September.

Huttons Asia chief executive Mark Yip noted that the increase in rents in both segments could have been supported by the increasing rental volume.

Mr Yip expects the overall rental market to continue to benefit as more companies bring in professionals to work in Singapore via the various VTLs in the coming months.

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OrangeTee’s Ms Sun shared similar sentiments: “Barring new developments from the Omicron variant, and if border controls are not tightened substantially, rental demand is poised to bounce back stronger next year, as international air travel continues to be restored.”

She expects rents for both segments to increase at a faster pace of around 8 per cent to 11 per cent over the next 12 months.

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