* Q1 private home prices up 3.1 pct q/q
* Core central region prices jump 5 pct
* Prices rose 1.1 pct in 2017 (Adds analyst comment)
SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - Singapore’s private home prices rose 3.1 percent in the first quarter, the fastest quarterly growth in nearly eight years, in a further sign of a nascent recovery in the city state’s housing market.
The pace of growth was the quickest since the second quarter of 2010 when home prices rose 5.3 percent, and was driven in particular by real estate in prime districts, data showed on Monday.
The private residential property index increased 4.3 points to 143.0 points in the first quarter from 138.7 points in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Singapore’s housing market is recovering from a four-year slump that was mainly caused by a series of government-led cooling measures. Prices rose 1.1 percent in 2017, helped by pent-up demand and stronger economic growth.
Prices of non-landed private homes rose 5 percent in the first quarter in the core central region, which includes the Orchard Road shopping area, helped by condominium projects such as City Developments’ New Futura and GuocoLand Ltd’s Martin Modern.
Units at Martin Modern, for example, are being transacted at about S$2,700 per square foot this year, compared with S$2,300 when it launched last year, estimated Christine Li, head of research, at consultancy Cushman and Wakefield in Singapore.
She said high-end properties were also seeing increased demand from foreigners, and now forecasting home prices to rise 7-10 percent this year.
“Buyers are biting the bullet to just take the plunge, thinking that prices will go much higher in future.”
The URA will provide updated detailed data later this month. (Reporting by Fathin Ungku and Aradhana Aravindan Editing by Shri Navaratnam)