(Photo: The Straits Times)

The economic downturn seems to be taking a toil on an increasing number of homeowners in Singapore.

The economic slowdown and the tough leasing market led to a jump in the number of residential properties put up for auction last year, said property research house DTZ.

Listings for mortgagee sale – which is when a bank puts a property up for auction when its owner cannot service the home loan – almost doubled to 87 units from 47 in 2014.

There were only nine properties under mortgagee sales in 2012, when the property market was growing.

More owners were also forced to put their properties under the hammer. Listings for owner's sale rose to 135 properties last year from 77 in 2014.

DTZ also noted that more landed properties and large apartments were listed for auction last year.

Listings of landed homes rose to 53 units from 39 units in 2014, while those for apartments with strata area of more than 2,000sqf rose to 40 apartments from 17 units.

DTZ said with the recent stock market sell-off, there will likely be more choice homes put on the block.

Said Dr Lee Naijia, DTZ's head of SEA Research: "Sudden shocks in the equity markets tend to be a precursor for more auction listings, as owners need to adjust their financial position. This will offer prospective home buyers a window of opportunity to acquire homes at reasonable prices."

(First published in The Straits Times)