New private home sales up 60% in Oct

Principal Garden (above) and Thomson Impressions, 99-year leasehold projects launched in the last weekend of October, comprised 80.6 per cent of the total number of units released last month.
Principal Garden (above) and Thomson Impressions, 99-year leasehold projects launched in the last weekend of October, comprised 80.6 per cent of the total number of units released last month.PHOTO: PRINCIPAL GARDEN

Two city-fringe condo launches make up bulk of sales; analysts see market remaining flat

Two condo launches bolstered sales in October after the doldrums of September, which had the lowest sales of any month this year, but experts say the market will stay flat.

A total of 546 new private homes were sold last month, up 60 per cent on the 341 moved in September, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday.

The total is 822 units if executive condominiums are included, up 31 per cent from the 629 homes sold in September.

Even with the uptick, October's sales were still only around the monthly average of 649 trans-actions over the past nine months of this year, noted Mr Nicholas Mak, SLP International executive director.

And they were about 30 per cent lower than the 785 units moved in October last year.

Thomson Impressions and Principal Garden - both are 99-year leasehold projects launched in the last weekend of October - comprised 80.6 per cent of the total number of units released last month and accounted for 35 per cent of the sales.

"The take-up rates of these two new launches, as measured by the number of units sold divided by the number of units launched, were fairly similar, ranging from 53 per cent to 57 per cent," Mr Mak said.

Principal Garden, a joint development by UOL Group and Kheng Leong in Prince Charles Crescent, was the top seller with 113 units sold at a median price of $1,633 per sq ft.

Nanshan Group's Thomson Impressions in Lorong Puntong sold 80 units at a median price of $1,399 psf.

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said the success of the two projects affirmed the attractiveness of properties in the city fringes, noting how rents and prices of non-landed homes generally performed better in these areas last year and this year.

There were 434 new private homes launched last month, a sharp turnaround from August and September, when no new condominiums were released during the Hungry Ghost festival and the general election.

Mr Ong Teck Hui, JLL national research director, said: "Notwithstanding the slight improvement in private home sales in October over the previous month, the market generally remains subdued as the effects of the cooling measures have been compounded by the economic slowdown and impending interest rate hike in the US."

Market sentiment will remain soft in the remaining few weeks of the year when the holiday season begins, he added.

Mr Mak expects fewer new units will be on sale in 2016 than this year due to the lower supply of new projects to be launched but he said the sector could get a much-needed shot in the arm if the Government eases its cooling measures.

Across regions, 25 homes in the central region were sold, compared with 20 in September.

In the city fringes, 280 homes were moved, up from 68, while 241 units went in the suburbs, down from 253.

A total of 276 executive condo units were sold last month, including 41 from The Criterion, which was launched in October at a median price of $805 psf.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2015, with the headline 'New private home sales up 60% in Oct'. Print Edition | Subscribe