New private home sales plunge to 5-year low in April amid circuit breaker: URA data

Developers in Singapore sold 277 private homes in April. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - New private home sales plunged to a five-year low last month and are expected to remain low in May as showflat galleries stay closed and new launches are pushed back further because of the extended circuit breaker.

Developers in Singapore sold 277 private homes last month, down 58 per cent from 660 homes in March, and 62.4 per cent lower year on year as the property market lay dormant. April's sales figure was the lowest since December 2014, when 230 units were taken up.

This came even as more new private homes were launched for sale: 640 units in April, up 10.7 per cent from 578 in March, and 44 per cent higher than a year ago.

The figures, released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Friday (May 15), exclude executive condominium (EC) units, which are a public-private housing hybrid.

"Overall, disruptions from the extended "circuit breaker", where sales galleries are mandated to close, the ban on foreign visitors into Singapore and the slowdown in project launches, are expected to have a negative impact on sales volume moving forward," said Desmond Sim, CBRE head of research, Southeast Asia.

Almost 100 new private homes were sold in April after the circuit breaker period began - though some of these buyers may have visited the showflats before the measures kicked in on April 7.

Including ECs, developers moved 293 units last month, down 67.6 per cent from March's 904 units, and 60.7 per cent lower than the 746 units sold in April last year. Of the 293, 65.5 per cent or 192 units were transacted before the circuit breaker measures kicked in on April 7.

New sales were propped up mainly by Kopar at Newton, which sold 83 units during the month. Its launch took place in the first week of April before the circuit breaker kicked in. Other topsellers in April were Treasure at Tampines (28 units), Riverfront Residences (17 units) and JadeScape (12 units).

Slightly more than a third of 277 units or 102 new home sales were from the core central region (ccr), said Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at Orangetee & Tie.

The highest-priced private home transacted last month was a super-luxury condominium (477 sqm) at 15 Holland Hill for $13.8 million or $2,692 psf on 02 April 2020. This is the third priciest new condominium unit transacted over the past 12 months. The other two higher-priced units were from Boulevard 88 that were sold in May and June 2019 for $28 and $31 million respectively, she said.

If the circuit breaker measures end on June 1, showflat viewing should be ramped up and sales activities should pick up, due to the pent-up demand due to the lockdown in April and May, said Christine Li, Cushman & Wakefield's head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia.

New launches could even pick up in June, typically a slow month for launches due to the school holidays. That's because the school holidays were brought forward to May and school resumes in June this year following changes made due to the pandemic, she said.

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