Why does EC segment look poised to lead developers’ sales?

SINGAPORE — Sales of new private homes in the Republic rose 41 per cent to a 10-month high in May as new projects continued to attract buyers, reinforcing signs of improving sentiment despite headwinds such as slower economic growth and property curbs.

There were no new EC launches last month. However, analysts said this segment looks poised to lead developers’ sales in the coming quarter with the launches of Northwave and Treasure Crest ECs. 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 EC, Bellewaters EC, Bellewoods EC.

 Last month, developers here sold 1,056 units, an increase from the 748 units sold in April, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday (June 15). May’s sales were 64 per cent higher than the 643 transactions registered in the year-ago period.

The jump in sales came on the back of increased launches as developers ramped up offerings before the mid-year seasonal lull. A total of 1,345 units made their debut in the market last month, compared to 902 in April and 500 in May 2015.

In the executive condominiums (ECs) segment, sales fell 39 per cent month-on-month to 332 units in May.

“May’s sales volume indicates that the market is highly launch-driven and underlying demand is present if prices are attractive … With two consecutive months of increased volume, there is a definite pick-up in momentum but whether it can be sustained largely depends on the project’s location and its pricing,” PropNex’s chief executive Ismail Gafoor said.

The best-selling development last month was the newly-launched Gem Residences at Toa Payoh, which sold 312 of its 578 units on offer at a median price of S$1,431 per square foot (psf). Transactions at this project accounted for the bulk of the 582 sales that the Rest of Central Region (RCR), or city fringes, registered.

Another project, Stars of Kovan, came in second after offloading 76 of 180 units at a median S$1,414 psf. The Upper Serangoon Road development helped the Outside Central Region (OCR), or suburbs, clock 414 sales last month.

Meanwhile, the Core Central Region (CCR), or city centre, sold 60 units.

The latest set of data came a day after an SRX flash report showed three consecutive months of improvement in the non-landed private residential resale market.

The report estimated that 840 units were resold in May, a 36 per cent jump from April and 35 per cent higher than a year ago — which analysts read as signs of market stabilisation.

Analysts said buying activity will slow down to the 500 to 700 range in the next few months given the lack of major new launches during the June school holidays and upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival.

However, developers are expected to intensify efforts in clearing their unsold inventories in previously-launched projects, which could drive this year’s total sales higher than 7,400 units in 2015.

Ms Tay Huey Ying, head of research and consultancy at JLL, said: “Given that developers’ sales in the first five months of 2016 have already surpassed that of the first five months of 2015 and barring unforeseen circumstances derailing the improvement in market sentiment seen in the last three months, developers’ sales for 2016 look poised to exceed that of 2015.”

Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research in Singapore and South-east Asia, noted that previously-launched projects have been registering “encouraging” sales as well even though buyers are taking a longer time to commit.

“This can be attributed to buyers sitting on the fence who were swayed to projects nearing completion, as well as increased incentives for both buyers and marketing personnel offered by developers. Overall, sales from previously-launched projects are expected to perform slightly better year-on-year,” he said.

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