April 1, 2019 / 4:39 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Singapore Q1 home prices fall most since 2016, luxury hardest hit

* Biggest drop in private residential prices since Q3 2016

* Prices in prime districts fall the most in a decade (Adds details, analyst comment)

SINGAPORE, April 1 (Reuters) - Singapore’s private residential prices fell the most in two-and-a-half years in the first quarter, with values of high-end homes have the biggest decline in a decade, following last year’s surprise tightening of property market curbs.

The private residential property index dropped 0.6 percent from 2018’s last quarter, preliminary data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed on Monday.

It was a second consecutive fall after a 0.1 decrease in October-December.

Monday’s data showed that prices in Singapore’s prime districts fell 2.9 percent - the biggest fall since the second quarter of 2009, according to consultancy Cushman and Wakefield. Prime districts include luxury homes in the Orchard Road shopping area and Sentosa, an island resort.

“Multiple dosage of cooling measures coupled with stronger headwinds in the macroeconomic condition has started to weigh down buying demand,” said Christine Li, Singapore head of research for the consultancy.

Li forecast overall prices to be flat this year.

To counter what they said was “excessive exuberance” in the city-state’s property market after a spike in prices last year, authorities in July slapped higher stamp duties on property purchases for individual home buyers and tightened housing loan limits.

They also unveiled stricter guidelines on the maximum number of units in new blocks of private flats and condominiums to tackle the development of so-called “shoebox units”. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and John Geddie; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Richard Borsuk)

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