Buyers hope to acquire properties now before prices recover?

Demand for new private homes here stayed healthy last month even though it slowed markedly from a 15-month high in October. Market watchers say the usually slow fourth quarter is still on track to notch up impressive total sales of about 2,500 units – and next year looks even brighter.

During the month, 1,363 units, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), were put on the market, less than October’s 1,467 units. 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, Parc Life EC, The Vales EC, Brownstone EC,   Sol Acres EC, The Visionaire, Bellewoods EC, Signature at Yishun, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC.

Developers sold 860 units last month, a slide of 31.4 per cent from October, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday.

This was a drop from October’s 15-month high of 1,253 private homes sold, but analysts said the fall was not symptomatic of a weakening property market. Compared with the 759 units sold in the same month last year, November’s sales represented a jump of 13.3 per cent.

Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE’s head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia, said the newly released data showed the private housing market’s resilience.

“Developers have sold 7,769 homes so far this year, crossing the sales tally of 7,440 units recorded in 2015. It is very possible that the market will see 8,000 units sold in 2016,” he said.

He attributed buyers’ interest to more competitive prices, and buyers wanting to lock in home loans before the rise in interest rates.

Mr Ong Teck Hui, JLL’s national director of research and consultancy, noted that the fourth quarter this year marked the difference between 2015 and this year.

“Assuming new private home sales of 300 to 500 units in December, the fourth quarter could end with 2,400 to 2,600 units sold, the strongest quarter for the year, a contrast to what is usually a slower quarter,” he said.

“What this means is that demand for new private homes could have turned the corner in the market slowdown of the last three years and poised to improve in 2017.”

The two best performers were newly launched projects. Queens Peak in Queenstown was the top seller with 271 units snapped up, while 128 units were sold at Parc Riviera in West Coast Vale.

Dr Lee Nai Jia, Edmund Tie and Company’s head of South-east Asia research, noted that in Queen’s Peak, 185 units sold were under $1 million. At Parc Riviera, 110 of the units sold were under $1 million.

“Buyers are attracted to units with a low quantum and they hope to acquire a property now before prices recover,” said Dr Lee.

He noted that the market has stabilised but that the slow sales of three-bedroom and larger units could be of some concern.

URA figures also showed that 250 new EC units were sold in November, fewer than the 288 new ECs transacted in October.

This took the total sales of new homes to 1,110 for the month.

executive condo photo 4