New private home sales in January fall 28% from December on CNY efffect: URA data

Year on year, new home sales were 17.8 per cent lower than the 527 units booked in January 2018.
Dated: 15-Feb-2019

SINGAPORE - Developers in Singapore sold 433 private homes in January, down 28 per cent from 602 units they moved in the previous month, according to figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday (Feb 15).

Year on year, new home sales were 17.8 per cent lower than the 527 units booked in January 2018.

The market may have felt the effect of home buyers not being back in full force yet from the year-end holidays and the timing of the Chinese New Year festival in early February, said analysts. Sales were also be feeling the lingering effects of the July 6 cooling measures.

January is typically a slow month as it falls between the year-end holidays in December and the Lunar New Year period.

Cushman & Wakefield's senior director of research, Ms Christine Li, said: "Buyers are just taking their time to shop around for the best options. The urgency to secure their choice units is no longer there. Although there is a large pipeline of launches, current market sentiment is stronger compared to the post TDSR-period, where there was a lot of uncertainty."

Singapore introduced the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) rules in 2013, placing new limits on property loans so as to prevent home buyers becoming overleveraged.

Developers released 498 private homes in January - nearly four times more the 101 units launched in December and up about 97 per cent from 253 in January 2018. Three new projects in the prime district were launched - Fourth Avenue Residences in Bukit Timah, Fyve Derbyshire along Derbyshire Road, and RV Altitude along River Valley Road.

"That reflects developers' confidence in launching units in a segment where buyers tend to be more price-sensitive, " Mr Ong Teck Hui, senior director of research & consultancy at JLL, said.

The three prime projects accounted for almost 25 per cent of January sales, Huttons Asia's research head Lee Sze Teck said. "The last time sales in the (prime district) accounted for more than 20 per cent of monthly sales was in March 2016, " he said.

Existing launches continue to find favour with buyers. Some 54 units were sold at Affinity At Serangoon, located near the proposed Serangoon North station for the first phase of the Cross Island Line, ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said.

Among the top selling projects were Fourth Avenue Residences (74 units sold at a median of $2, 412 psf), Affinity At Serangoon (54 units sold at a median of $1, 496 psf), Parc Esta (32 units sold at a median of $1, 745 psf), Stirling Residences (22 units sold at a median of $1, 761 psf) and Parc Botannia (21 units sold at a median of $1, 384 psf).

But the executive condominium (EC) market saw markedly less action due to the low number of new EC units available for sale and the absence of new EC project launches since April 2018.

ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak noted that only one EC unit sold in January.

The total inventory of unsold EC units dropped to a record low of just 5 units as of January this year. "There was only one EC project launched in 2018, the 628-unit Rivercove Residences. ... The supply and demand imbalance will continue to put upward pressure on EC prices.

"The sales of new EC will only increase only when the next EC project located along Sumang Walk is launched, which is expected to be in the second quarter of 2019, " he said.

Source: Straits Times