New private home sales dip in June amid viewing curbs

But interest still holding up, say observers, with pent-up demand likely to push up sales, prices in Q3

Visitors looking at a model of Treasure at Tampines, which was among the best-selling private home projects for last month. Developers sold 872 units in June, down 2.6 per cent from 895 units in May, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority yes
Visitors looking at a model of Treasure at Tampines, which was among the best-selling private home projects for last month. Developers sold 872 units in June, down 2.6 per cent from 895 units in May, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.PHOTO: MUHD SYAFIQ MOHD ESA

Sales of new private homes eased last month amid Covid-19 restrictions although demand is still holding up well, said market observers.

Developers sold 872 units last month, down 2.6 per cent from 895 units in May, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday.

Viewing restrictions clearly hit sales, said Huttons Asia senior director of research Lee Sze Teck.

"The proportion of transactions from June 15 to 30, when restrictions were eased, stands at 59.8 per cent, compared with 40.2 per cent from June 1 to 14," he noted.

The URA figures exclude executive condominiums (ECs).

Including ECs, 962 new homes were sold last month - 22 per cent lower than in May, and down 6.7 per cent from a year ago.

PropNex chief executive Ismail Gafoor said new private home sales have held up relatively well, compared with the drastic drop during the circuit breaker period last year, when sales plunged to 277 units in April and 487 in May.

"We think consumer confidence has improved vastly since last year," he said.

New private home sales last month were down 12.6 per cent from June 2020, but pent-up demand could push sales and prices higher in the third quarter, said Mr Ong Teck Hui, senior director of research and consultancy at JLL.

"However, due to the unpredictability of Covid-19, the market should be watchful," he added.

Sales could improve this month as developers rush to launch their projects before the start of the Hungry Ghost Festival next month. Upcoming launches include The Watergardens at Canberra, Pasir Ris 8 and Klimt Cairnhill.

The Watergardens at Canberra and Pasir Ris 8 are the first two mass-market launches this year, and could do well if priced to capture the buoyant Housing Board resale market, said Huttons Asia chief executive Mark Yip.

Ms Wong Siew Ying, head of research and content at PropNex, added: "Given the limited launches in the suburbs recently, new projects in Pasir Ris, Canberra and Fernvale should attract strong interest from owner-occupiers, including HDB upgraders."

Developers launched 815 units last month, up nearly 58 per cent from May, and 36.5 per cent higher than a year ago. There were no new ECs launched last month.

June sales were dominated by previously launched projects. City fringe and mass-market segments led the way, with the high-end sector attracting bargain hunters after promotions were offered, said Ms Tricia Song, head of research for South-east Asia at CBRE.

Hyll on Holland was the top seller last month, moving 87 of its 319 units after cutting prices to a median $2,387 per sq ft (psf), from its launch level of $2,800 psf last October, she added.

Besides Hyll on Holland, another 119 luxury homes were snapped up at other prime district projects, noted Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie.

Leedon Green moved 31 units, Fourth Avenue Residences sold 12, and Irwell Hill Residences 11.

Other best-selling projects included Treasure at Tampines, Normanton Park, The Florence Residences, Avenue South Residence, Parc Clematis and Amber Park.

More Singaporeans bought homes at between $1.5 million and $2 million last month, after cashing out their HDB flats, said Mr Yip.

More than 40 per cent of June's sales were priced below $1.5 million, 31 per cent were between $1.5 million and $2 million, and 27 per cent were above $2 million. The average price paid last month was $1.82 million, Huttons said.

Despite lower sales in May and June, the tally for the first half of this year was an estimated 6,528 new private homes sold, about 67 per cent up from the same period last year, said Cushman & Wakefield.

Unsold supply has dropped for eight consecutive quarters to 21,634 units as at March 31 - a record low since the fourth quarter of 2017, said Mr Wong Xian Yang, head of research for Singapore at Cushman & Wakefield.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2021, with the headline 'New private home sales dip in June amid viewing curbs'. Subscribe