Quoting the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) fourth quarter 2018 housing statistics, Morgan Stanley reports that unsold inventory rose, but they think it is temporary.
While vacancies fell faster than they expected, it did not translate into higher rents.
Home prices fell 0.1% QoQ in 4Q18. The fall in home prices on a quarterly basis is unchanged following an earlier release on 2 Jan 2019. Non-landed suburb and city fringe prices grew 1% and 2% respectively, in the quarter. Full year 2018 home prices growth was 7.9% and Morgan Stanley thinks it can grow another 5% in 2019
Unsold inventory rose. Unsold inventory, comprising more than 90% of projects which have yet to launch), grew from 32k to 36k units. This is near the historical 2000 to 2017 average of 35k.
The increase is likely due to planning approvals given to projects where land was acquired in 1H2018.
With land transactions falling sharply in 3Q18, Morgan Stanley expects unsold inventory to decline moving forward as land acquisitions slow below the pace of home sales.
Vacancies fell. Vacancies tightened from 6.8% to 6.4%. Morgan Stanley estimates 6.7% for the quarter. Vacancy fall on lower supply (additions to completed stock), but residential rents fell 2.1%, reversing three quarters of consecutive growth.