April condo resale volume dives 57.3% amid circuit breaker

Year on year, resales last month dived 62.2 per cent, compared with April 2019.
Year on year, resales last month dived 62.2 per cent, compared with April 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

The circuit breaker measures that kicked in on April 7 to stem the spread of Covid-19 hit Singapore's property market last month, sending the number of resold private non-landed homes tumbling, although prices barely moved, flash data yesterday showed.

The number of condominium and private apartments resold last month plunged 57.3 per cent to 309 units from 723 units in March, according to figures from real estate portal SRX Property.

Resale volume last month dived 62.2 per cent compared with April last year. It was also 66.8 per cent lower than the five-year average volume for the month of April.

Orange Tee & Tie's head of research and consultancy Christine Sun said she found April's 309 resale home transactions "encouraging", given that no house viewings could be conducted during the circuit breaker period.

"Although some have turned to virtual house tours as an alternative, it will still take time for remote house viewings to gain traction as potential buyers may still prefer to make a final inspection of the units before they make a purchase," Ms Sun said.

She also noted that while the resale volume was low when compared with recent months, it was still not the lowest ever.

Using URA Realis data as a gauge - as SRX historical data was not immediately available - she said the last lowest volume was 305 units resold in January 2015.

The 57.3 per cent month-on-month drop was also not the biggest such fall. Resale volume sank 62.2 per cent in January 2012 and 69.6 per cent in February 2013.

Ms Sun sees resale volume falling further to around 250 to 300 units this month with the circuit breaker measures still in place, while around 500 units could be sold after the measures are eased and when house viewings can resume.

SRX's data for last month also showed that overall resale prices dipped just 0.2 per cent over March as sellers strove to hold on to their asking prices. April resale prices were a scant 0.7 per cent lower than a year ago.

But the downward pressure on prices was shown in the fall in SRX's transaction over X-value (TOX) data. TOX measures how much a buyer is overpaying (positive value) or underpaying (negative value) for a property based on SRX's computer-generated market value. The data includes only districts with more than 10 resale transactions.

Last month, SRX's overall TOX slid to a negative $11,000 from negative $2,000 in March.

Ms Sun said overall resale prices may fall by 3 per cent to 5 per cent for the whole of this year.

The highest price paid for a resale unit last month was $27.7 million, for a luxury freehold apartment at Ardmore Park.

The Business Times reported last week that Mr Huang Youlong, the businessman husband of Chinese actress Vicki Zhao, had bought a penthouse at Ardmore Park for $27.65 million, or about $3,164 per sq ft based on the strata area of 8,740 sq ft.

In the city fringes, a freehold unit at The Waterside in Tanjong Rhu went for $3.8 million. The most expensive sale in the suburbs last month was a unit at Hillion Residences in the Dairy Farm/Bukit Panjang area, which was resold for $2.7 million.

There was also a high-floor (457 sq m) unit at The Claymore in the Orchard Road area that was sold for $17 million, or $3,456 per sq ft.

Ms Sun said while the number of such super-luxury transactions above $10 million may not be large, it is still a "remarkable feat" that two of these luxurious condominium units were sold during the circuit breaker period.

She added that this may indicate that despite the pandemic, Singapore remains an attractive investment destination to the ultra-rich.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2020, with the headline 'April condo resale volume dives 57.3% amid circuit breaker'. Subscribe