PHOTO: Singapore

Singapore has a property glut that could take years to clear, threatening to kill a nascent price recovery amid an already uncertain economic outlook.

The city-state had an overhang of 31,948 units as of Sept. 30, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Sales have averaged about 2,500 homes per quarter this year, and at that rate it will take almost four years to clear the backlog, according to Christine Li, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at Cushman & Wakefield Plc.

The glut has prompted developers to call for property curbs to be eased, including lowering the 20% stamp duty for foreign buyers and getting more time to sell apartments before being hit with punitive levies. The over-supply also threatens to push down prices, the central bank warned last month.

Read more: Singapore Property Glut May Curb Prices, Central Bank Says

And given the unsure economic outlook, sales might fall between 5% and 10% next year, said Christine Sun, head of research at OrangeTee & Tie Pte. Property prices could still rise, albeit at a slower pace of 1% to 3% “assuming the economy doesn’t deteriorate excessively next year.”