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While premiums have cooled off this week, the continued upwards trajectory for Cats A, B and E recently has still been undeniable - and unprecedented.

07 Oct 2022

COE price trend over the past quarter: July to September 2022 vs April to June 2022 

COE premiums have continued to climb in the past quarter - and to rather alarming levels too.

Creeping towards $90,000 in late August, Category A almost neared the peaks seen for 'mass market cars' during the 2013 period. On the other hand, premiums in Categories B and E both smashed their previous records; the Open category reached a new peak of $114,001 in late July, whereas the category for larger cars climbed to $113,000 in early September. 

COE premiums have continued their upwards trajectory, with Cats B and E breaking all-time records
Consequently, the July to September average for Cat A COE prices was 15% higher than the previous period. Premiums in Cat B and Cat E also accelerated quicker than they last did - by close to 13% and 14% respectively. 

Amidst the skyrocketing prices (and rapidly growing dissent on the ground), intervention from the authorities arrived quite shortly after our previous analysis - albeit not in the way that most people would have expected. 

When announcing the COE supply for the August to October period, the LTA announced that it would also be changing its quota counting method to reduce price volatility. The supply of COEs for any upcoming period is now based on a rolling average of two quarters of vehicle deregistrations (in other words, six months). Up till that point, only the previous quarter had been taken into account. 

The new method of quota calculation is aiming to reduce the volatility of premiums moving forward
The new rules allowed for a total COE quota of 10,581 for August to October, rather than 9,394 if the old system had been followed. Nonetheless, the number still represented an 11.5% shrinkage from the May to July period. As demand was sustained over the last few months - and even bolstered by events like [email protected] - premiums have also risen across the board. 

Buyers, however, will still have to proceed with caution. In the same way that COE prices are unlikely to climb as drastically, they are now also unlikely to slide as much. Furthermore, freshly rising interest rates, triggered by the U.S.A's Federal Reserve System, are threatening to make car loans more expensive than they were.

Vehicle de-registration and COE supply forecasting

Despite the new calculation method, data suggests that a supply shrinkage is still ahead of us 
Our analyses moving forward now also follow the new system of calculation, and data extrapolated from de-registrations between April to September 2022 suggests that the COE supply is set to dip yet again for the November 2022 to January 2023 period. Overall, an 11% shrinkage is projected. 

Cat A looks to be impacted most heavily, where the COE quota is projected to drop by 16% from the current monthly average of 1,086. Although less drastically, the monthly COE quota in Cat B is also projected to fall by 13% from the current average of 939.

A projected increase for Cat E COEs will not help to mediate the drops in Cat A and Cat B
Only a quota increase seems to be on the horizon for Category E, but even this won't be substantial: A rise of 8% is projected, from the outgoing monthly average of 327. 

To reiterate, the change in the quota calculation method resulted in an 11.5% overall dip in COE supply for August to October. This represented a much gentler fall than the 19% we had projected for the three-month period back in June.

New car pricing: July to September 2022

Sgcarmart uses a pool of popular models from authorised dealers to analyse the general price trends of new cars.

With Cat A prices hurtling towards $90,000, cars like the Corolla Altis are nearing $150,000 
Based on our sample, there was an 8% quarter-on quarter-increase, compared to the previous tri-monthly average between May to June 2022. This marks a sharper rate of increase than previously seen across the previous two three-month periods, undoubtedly catalysed by the uniform spike in COE prices. 

As mentioned earlier, the catapulting of Category A towards its all-time high has sent prices of cars like the Toyota Corolla Altis hurtling towards $150,000.

Nonetheless, bear in mind that the 8% rise still pales in comparison to the 13-15% increases for COE premiums across all three categories taken in isolation for the same period. Against the record premiums seen in recent months, it thus appears that dealers have been trying to buffer customers through slower rising retail prices in a bid to lure them to showrooms. 

Most popular used cars: June 2022 to August 2022

Over the three-month period between June 2022 to August 2022, these were the five most listed used cars on Sgcarmart. 

Model Year of registration Average depreciation (approx.)
Honda Vezel 1.5A X 2016 $13,954/yr
Honda Civic 1.6A VTi 2018 $13,701/yr
Mercedes-Benz C-Class C180 Avantgarde 2017 $19,570/yr
Mercedes-Benz C-Class C180 Avantgarde 2015 $20,853/yr
Mercedes-Benz C-Class C180 Avantgarde 2016 $20,186/yr

The annual depreciation of a 2016 Honda Vezel is nearly equal to that of the brand-new, current-gen model (HR-V pictured)
The sheer might of the previous-generation Honda Vezel in the pre-owned market should no longer be surprising, but the unavoidable spillover of rising new car prices into the used car market is continuing to make its presence felt.

At close to $14,000 per year, the annual depreciation of the aging crossover is now on par with what one can expect when buying the current-generation car brand new (this includes the HR-V as well - the variant sold by authorised Honda dealer, Kah Motor). 

Apart from the persisting strength of the FC Honda Civic 1.6A, the rest of the top five is dominated by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class C180 Avantgarde, registered across 2015 to 2017. Merc's Cat A friendly GLA180, registered across 2019 and 2020, was also among the top listed used cars in June and August.

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