Reiterations that measures will remain prompted buyers to purchase

THE successful launch of two condominium projects in March has lent a boost to new-home sale transactions in Singapore.

This has also reinforced the market’s belief there remains strong underlying demand for good-quality residential properties at the right price, despite the quiet months of January and February. Upcoming executive condo include The Visionaire EC, Wandervale EC,  Parc Life EC, Treasure Crest, Northwave EC while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone EC, Waterwoods EC, Signature at Yishun, Skypark Residences, The Vales EC, The Criterion EC, Bellewaters EC, Bellewoods EC.

According to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday, developers sold 843 private homes last month, close to triple the 303 units sold in February.

About 682 units were launched in March, more than three times the 209 units launched in February.

JLL national director Ong Teck Hui said: “Market confidence seems to have returned following the stock market volatility in the earlier part of the year and the Chinese New Year lull.

“New sales take-up in Q1 2016 stands at 1,470 units, some 12 per cent higher than the 1,311 units which developers sold in Q1 2015. We now have to observe whether sales volume in the primary market has bottomed out and is on the path to recovery.”

CapitaLand’s 268-unit Cairnhill Nine sold 177 of the 200 units launched, at a median price of S$2,441 per square foot (psf), thanks to the project’s attractive location near Orchard Road and digestible price quantum.

The Wisteria, which launched all of its 216 units, sold 125 at a median price of S$1,112 psf, given its appeal as part of a mixed development. It comes with a lifestyle mall.

Other top-selling private residential projects in March were The Poiz Residences (59 units at a median price of S$1,475 psf), Kingsford Hillview Peak (43 units at a median price of S$1,289 psf) and Botanique at Bartley (31 units at a median price of S$1,302 psf).

Inclusive of executive condominiums (ECs), a public-private housing hybrid, developers sold 1,328 units in March, more than thrice those sold in February. Some 1,216 units, including ECs, were launched, compared to just 209 in the preceding month.

This was mostly due to the launch of Sim Lian’s Wandervale EC, which sold 292 of its 534 units at a median price of S$770 psf.

The other better-performing ECs in March included The Terrace (36 units at a median price of S$785 psf), The Brownstone (27 units at a median price of S$831 psf) and Sol Acres (26 units at a median price of S$791 psf).

Consultants noted pent-up demand in the private-home market, which they say surfaces when buyers perceive good deals.

In the past few years, in the absence of good options, many buyers had chosen to wait on the sidelines for prices to fall further, or for the property cooling measures to be removed, both of which did not happen.

Now, with the government’s reiterations that the measures will remain for a while, this could have prompted some buyers to finally be more decisive in acting on the purchases, he said.

“The sales pick-up for these developments in March is poignant enough to reflect an improvement in sentiment and demand,” Mr Ong noted. “If this trend continues, it would result in improvements in both launches and sales take-up in Q2, and that may pave the way for further moderation in price declines in 2016, compared to the last two years.”

PropNex Realty CEO Ismail Gafoor also expects strong sales volume in Q2 with the upcoming condominium launches of Gem Residences, Sturdee Residences and Stars of Kovan.

Two new ECs, Parc Life and The Visionaire, are also slated for launch this month.

Meanwhile, Mr Ismail believes developers will be adjusting their pricing strategy to continue moving units in their past launches.

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