Executive Condominiums back in vogue?

SINGAPORE — Sales of new private homes slipped in April despite more units being launched, with transactions falling 11.6 per cent after a bumper month in March, indicating that buyers are still hesitant amid the uncertain economic climate.

Developers sold 745 private units last month, compared with 843 in March, showed data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday (May 16). April’s sales were also 36.2 per cent lower than the 1,167 new homes registered in the year-ago ­period.

Including executive condominiums (ECs), 1,291 units were sold, down from March’s 1,328 units. Upcoming executive condo include Treasure Crest and Northwave EC while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone EC, The Visionaire EC, Parc Life EC , Waterwoods EC, Signature at Yishun, Skypark Residences, Wandervale EC, The Vales EC, The Criterion ECBellewaters EC, Bellewoods EC.

In the EC segment, the market saw its biggest launch in 17 months with 1,260 units released for sale in April, noted Mr Ong Teck Hui, national ­director of research and consultancy at JLL.

The two new EC projects launched were Parc Life and The Visionaire. Parc Life sold 51 of its 628 units at a median price of S$784 per sqf, while the 632-unit The Visionaire saw a take-up of 154 units at a median price of S$821 per sqf. “ECs may be back in vogue now that more owner-occupiers turn to ECs for their affordability and more spacious units,” said Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty Network.

“Besides the cooling measures, buyers were also affected by the ­release of weaker economic data, both globally and locally. As the economy becomes more uncertain, and with the Additional Buyer’s Stamp ­Duty weighing on the buyers’ decisions, more buyers prefer to stay put unless they find the project very attractive, in terms of its pricing and location,” said Dr Lee Nai Jia, DTZ’s regional head of research for South-east Asia.

March’s new home sales, which nearly tripled the 303 units transacted in February, were driven by what analysts called “successful launches” as developers ramped up offerings after the year-end and Chinese New Year lull.

Even though April’s numbers are down compared with March, Mr Colin Tan, director of research and consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, is refraining from a negative analysis.

“Sentiment-wise, I think it has stabilised considerably. We used to get monthly sales of lower than 500 units per month,” said Mr Tan. “­Below 500 monthly sales is bad, 500 to 1,000 is showing signs of recovery, and any month with over 1,000 units sold has to be considered good. I am sure if you offer developers sales of 745 units per month from now to the end of the year, they will be glad to take it.”

Excluding ECs, 900 units were launched last month, up 32 per cent  from March but 42.6 per cent lower than April last year.

Two new private projects were launched in April: Sturdee Residences and The Asana.

Of the 48 units in The Asana, which is at Queen’s Road, 10 were placed on the market without any units taken up.

Sturdee Residences, which is at the city fringe in Little India, launched all of its 305 units and sold 126 at a ­median price of S$1,620 per sqf. The sales accounted for nearly 17 per cent of overall developer sales in April, taking transactions in the Rest of Central Region, or city fringes, to 320 units.

But the Outside Central Region, or suburbs, still dominated volume with 361 new homes sold. The Core Central Region, or city centre, had 64 units taken up.

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