Cooling measures, Hungry Ghost month send new private home sales down 64% in August

Including ECs, developers moved 639 units in August 2018 - down from the 1,776 units in the previous month and 1,587 units sold in August last year.
Including ECs, developers moved 639 units in August 2018 - down from the 1,776 units in the previous month and 1,587 units sold in August last year.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Developers in Singapore sold 616 private homes last month, making for a 64.3 per cent fall from the 1,724 units they moved in July and a 50.6 per cent drop from the 1,246 units booked in August last year.

The decline comes on the back of a double whammy of property cooling measures that took effect on July 6 and the Hungry Ghost Festival in August, when some would avoid entering into property deals.

The figures were released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday (Sept 17) based on its survey of licensed housing developers.

The above figures exclude executive condominium (EC) units which are a public-private housing hybrid.

Including ECs, developers moved 639 units in August - down from the 1,776 units in the previous month and 1,587 units sold in August last year.

Developers also held back launches during the Hungry Ghost month and in the immediate aftermath of the cooling measures. Including ECs, 534 new units were launched last month, 76.2 per cent lower than July's 2,239 units and 32.7 per cent below August 2017's 794 units.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy for OrangeTee & Tie, said the data shows that the latest property curbs "are starting to take a significant toll on private home demand".

"While August is traditionally slower for sales and launches, last month's figure is in stark contrast to the same period last year where 794 new homes were launched and 1,246 units were sold," she said.

Excluding ECs, 6,287 units were sold in the first eight months of this year, 25 per cent less than the 8,397 units sold for the same period a year ago. "The sales decline is not beyond expectation, as the market often responds correspondingly with each round of intervention," said Ms Sun.

She added that the tighter financing rules and increased Additional Buyers' Stamp Duty (ABSD) of up to 20 per cent for foreign buyers  "have also sent foreigners scurrying from the market". Based on URA data as of Monday, foreigners' share of the new non-landed housing pie sank to a low of 5.1 per cent last month, down from 7.4 per cent a year ago. The last low was in July 2015, when foreigners accounted for only 4.2 per cent of the market.

Last month's top-selling project was The Tre Ver in Potong Pasir, with 164 units sold at a median price of $1,551 per square foot (psf).

Other top sellers for August included Stirling Residences, with 91 units transacted at a median price of $1,757 psf; Park Colonial in Woodleigh Lane, with  79 units sold at a median price of $1,713 psf; and Riverfront Residences in Hougang, with 76 units sold at a median price of $1,311 psf.