Fewer project launches during CNY affect sales of new homes

Nim Collection, a 99-year leasehold landed project, launched 26 units and also sold three, at a median price of $1,661 psf.
Nim Collection, a 99-year leasehold landed project, launched 26 units and also sold three, at a median price of $1,661 psf. PHOTO: BUKIT SEMBAWANG ESTATES

Expert says 28% drop from January not indicative of market slowdown

Developers holding back launches of new projects during the Chinese New Year festivities hit sales of new homes last month.

They sold 377 private homes - excluding executive condominium (EC) units - last month, a 28 per cent drop from the 524 units moved in January. There were only two new launches, so buyers were certainly not spoilt for choice.

Parksuites, a 119-unit project by Far East Organization in Holland Grove, soft-launched 50 units and sold three at a median price of $2,215 per sq ft (psf).

Nim Collection, a 99-year leasehold landed project, launched 26 units and also sold three, at a median price of $1,661 psf.

JLL national director of research and consultancy Ong Teck Hui said February's figures were comparable with January last year as both were Chinese New Year months.

There were 186 units launched in February with 377 units taken up, compared with 108 launched and 382 units sold in January 2017.

"So the low-key performance in February is not indicative of a market slowdown," said Mr Ong.

"Notwithstanding the festive period in February and the dearth of new launches, buyers were still house-hunting among previously launched projects, resulting in sales from these accounting for 98.4 per cent of total new private home sales during the month. This is indicative of ongoing interest among home buyers," he said.

HOUSE-HUNTING STRONG

Not with standing the festive period in February and the dearth of new launches, buyers were still house-hunting among previously launched projects, resulting in sales from these accounting for 98.4 per cent of total new private home sales during the month.

MR ONG TECK HUI, national director of research & consultancy at JLL.

Ms Tricia Song, research head for Singapore at Colliers International, noted that some developers have started to raise prices at previously launched projects.

The median price at Kingsford Waterbay in Upper Serangoon, for example, rose from $1,111 psf in March 2015 to $1,349 psf last month. The median price at Grandeur Park Residences near Tanah Merah MRT station increased from $1,406 psf at the launch in March last year to $1,487 psf last month.

The price at Clement Canopy has gone up from $1,343 psf in March last year to $1,479 psf now as it pushes towards an 87 per cent sell-through rate.

Developers are expected to keep timing launches with price rises.

Year on year, sales last month were down 61.5 per cent from the 979 units sold in February last year.

If ECs are included, developers found buyers for 469 units last month, a 24.8 per cent drop from the 624 units sold in January this year and a sharp 64 per cent fall from the 1,308 units sold in February last year.

PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor said: "February traditionally witnesses lesser property activity due to the festive celebrations and lack of new launches.

"With more new launches lined up in the coming months, we can expect sales to pick up and transactions to increase."

Upcoming launches in the next few months include The Tapestry in Tampines Avenue 10, The Enclave @ Holland, Rivercove Residences EC, Twin Vew in West Coast, Margaret Ville in Margaret Drive, Amber 45 in East Coast and Park Colonial in Woodleigh Lane.

Strong demand is expected for Rivercove Residences next month as it is the only EC launch for this year. Mr Ismail said the record land bid price for Sumang Walk EC site ($583 psf ppr) announced this month will propel home buyers and upgraders to make a move to buy existing EC stock before values rise.

Correction note: The story was edited to correct a typo for Twin Vew. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2018, with the headline 'Fewer project launches during CNY affect sales of new homes'. Print Edition | Subscribe