SINGAPORE — Sales of new private homes rebounded sharply in March to their highest level in eight months, driven by what analysts called “successful launches” as developers ramped up offerings after the year-end and Chinese New Year lull.
Developers sold 843 units last month, nearly triple the revised 303 units in February, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed on Friday (April 15). The volume was the highest since the 1,655 units sold in July last year, and also 37.5 per cent higher than the 613 transactions recorded in March last year.
Last month’s surge came on the back of a higher number of launches, with developers putting 682 new homes on the market, over three times February’s 209 units. On a year-on-year basis, the number of units launched jumped 70.5 per cent from 400 units in March last year.
“The rebound in the new home sales did not come as a surprise. The stronger sales volume was supported by two factors. Firstly, there was some pent-up demand after the prolonged drought since last December … Secondly, the two projects that sold well had good product and location attributes,” said Ms Christine Li, director of research at property firm Cushman and Wakefield.
The two projects launched last month — the 268-unit Cairnhill Nine close to the Orchard Road shopping district, and the 216-unit The Wisteria on Yishun Ring Road — also emerged as the two best-selling developments. A total of 177 units were sold at Cairnhill Nine at a median price of S$2,441 per square foot (psf), while 125 units were sold at The Wisteria at a median S$1,112 psf.
Cairnhill Nine’s sales helped the Core Central Region, or city centre, chalk up its best monthly performance since October 2014 with 210 transactions. But the Outside Central Region, or suburbs, still dominated volume with 461 new homes sold. The Rest of Central Region, or city fringes, registered sales of 172 new units.
Other than these two projects, previously launched developments also did well last month as activity picked up after the Chinese New Year holidays. Some of these include The Poiz Residences in Potong Pasir, where 59 units were sold at a median S$1,475 psf and Kingsford Hillview Peak, where 43 units were sold at a median S$1,289 psf.
Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research in Singapore and South-east Asia, said: “Another positive sign was that there was still some traction in sales arising from previously launched projects. The expectation that the Government would not lift measures in the near future probably nudged buyers sitting on the fence to commit to a purchase.”
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong reiterated on Monday the Government’s stance not to roll back cooling measures, saying it is “too early to declare victory”. Private home prices in Singapore surged more than 60 per cent after the global financial crisis in 2009 to peak in the third quarter of 2013. Since then, prices have declined 9.1 per cent over 10 consecutive quarters, according to flash estimates by the URA.
Mr Ong Teck Hui, national director for research and consultancy at property firm JLL, said if March’s sales momentum continues into the second quarter, housing price declines could moderate. However, downside risks remain, given the economic slowdown, substantial unsold supply and a weak leasing market, he added. Economic growth was flat in the first quarter on a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted annualised basis, slowing sharply from the 6.2 per cent expansion in the preceding quarter, showed advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Thursday.
Ms Li said challenging economic and employment conditions could see buying momentum for private homes taking a back seat this month. Instead, executive condominiums (ECs) could grab the headlines as two projects, Parc Life and The Visionaire, are slated for launch.
Last month, developers sold 485 ECs, up from the 130 sales in the previous month and 79 units in March last year.