Attractive pricing and location remain key drivers in moving units

SINGAPORE — Sales of new private homes in the Republic plunged by almost one-third in November from October’s 15-month high, as buying activity slowed down ahead of the traditional year-end lull, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Thursday.

In the executive condominium (EC) segment, developer sales fell 13.5 per cent to 250 units in November from October’s 289 units. The top-selling EC development was Sol Acres in Choa Chu Kang Grove, which sold 56 units at a median S$784 psf. Upcoming executive condo launches include Yio Chu Kang EC, Inz Residence EC, Choa Chu Kang EC, Anchorvale Lane EC,  while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone EC, The Vales EC, Parc Life , Sol Acres EC, The Visionaire, Bellewoods EC, Signature at Yishun, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC.

Developers sold 860 private homes last month, down 31.4 per cent from 1,253 units in the previous month, according to URA data. However, on a year-on-year basis, November’s sales were 13.3 per cent higher than the 759 units sold in the same month last year.

The latest figure brings the total transactions in the first 11 months of this year to about 7,769 units, exceeding the 7,440 homes sold in the whole of 2015, said analysts.

They added that total sales for 2016 could cross the 8,000-unit mark to hit a three-year high.

“Buyers are motivated by a few factors. First, competitive prices have been offering them better value. Second, we have observed buyers moving to lock in home-loan packages before interest rates rise further,” said Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research in Singapore and South-east Asia.

Mr Ong Teck Hui, JLL’s national director of research and consultancy, noted that the jump in sales this year came on the back of increased launches by developers, which signalled their “stronger confidence”.

“January to November 2016 saw 7,763 units launched, 12.7 per cent more than that for the same period last year, attesting to the stronger confidence among developers in increasing launches this year. Nineteen new private residential projects have been launched so far in 2016, more than the 15 last year,” he said.

Last month, the number of private homes launched for sale fell by 7.1 per cent to 1,363 units from 1,467 units in October, showed the URA data. On a year-on-year basis, November’s launch figure was 85.9 per cent higher than the 733 homes released for sale in the same month last year.

Two new projects dominated last month’s launch and also emerged as the top sellers for November. The 736-unit Queens Peak on Dundee Road released all of its units for sale in November and sold 271 homes at a median price of S$1,628 per square foot (psf). Parc Riviera, a 752-unit development in West Coast Vale, offloaded 128 out of the 200 units launched at a median price of S$1,189 psf.

Queens Peak helped the city fringes, or rest of central region, to lead sales with 418 units. This was followed by the suburbs, or outside central region at 404 units and the city centre, or core central region, which offloaded 38 sales.

Analysts said buying momentum will slow down further in December and January as families go travelling during the school holidays and festive season, during which developers are likely to hold back new launches.

Looking ahead to the new year, the impending interest rate hikes and lacklustre economic outlook could see buyers become more cautious in committing to property purchases. This means that developers will remain under pressure to keep pricing attractive, said analysts.

“With the presence of price resistance, prices for upcoming new projects will remain competitive as there will be added pressure for developers to price their projects reasonably … Attractive pricing and location remain key drivers in helping developers move units,” said Mr Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty.

executive condo photo 2