New private home sales for March hit 4-year high

Strong comeback on back of economic recovery, ongoing vaccine roll-out

Midtown Modern (above) was the best-selling private residential project last month, which saw new private home sales of 1,296 units. It was double February's total of 645. Speculation of more cooling measures may have nudged some buyers to jump in so
Midtown Modern (above) was the best-selling private residential project last month, which saw new private home sales of 1,296 units. It was double February's total of 645. Speculation of more cooling measures may have nudged some buyers to jump in sooner, analysts say.ST FILE PHOTO

New private home sales staged a strong comeback last month on the back of an economic recovery and the ongoing vaccine roll-out.

Speculation of more cooling measures may also have nudged some buyers to jump in sooner, analysts said.

The result was sales of 1,296 units - the highest March take-up since 2017 - which was double February's total of 645.

Developers booked 96 per cent more transactions in March than in the same month last year, with just under half of these coming from high-end condominiums in prime districts.

Last month's bumper performance brought developer sales in the first quarter to 3,573 units, up 66 per cent on the same period last year.

Colliers International research head Tricia Song noted that this was the best quarterly performance for developer sales since the second quarter of 2013 when 4,538 units were moved - and "triggered eight rounds of cooling measures", she added.

Secondary market sales for the first quarter were also encouraging, estimated at 4,005 units based on Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Realis data.

The robust residential market and news of the economy growing by 0.2 per cent year on year in the first quarter could boost buyer sentiment and developers' confidence in launching new projects, said Mr Ong Teck Hui, senior director of research and consultancy at JLL.

Developers launched 959 units for sale last month, almost six times the 167 units placed in February and 66 per cent higher year on year, he said.

The figures from URA exclude executive condominium (EC) units - a public-private housing hybrid.

If ECs are included, developers moved 1,373 new homes last month - up 82 per cent from February and 52 per cent higher than a year earlier.

The top sellers last month were Midtown Modern, Treasure at Tampines, RV Altitude, Amber Park, Ki Residences at Brookvale and Normanton Park.

About 42 per cent, or 546 units, of March sales were in the prime or core central region, helped by Midtown Modern, RV Altitude and The M.

"This represents a stellar increase of 841.4 per cent from just 58 units shifted in the previous month," PropNex research and content head Wong Siew Ying said.

A 3,520 sq ft penthouse at Midtown Modern sold last month for $14.8 million (or $4,213 per sq ft), said Mr Leonard Tay, head of research at Knight Frank Singapore.

With more family offices opening here, demand for penthouses or units of more than 3,000 sq ft from foreigners and local buyers is expected to grow, he added.

Around 82 per cent of last month's new home sales were to Singaporeans, with permanent residents making up 13.4 per cent and foreigners 4.3 per cent.

Ms Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie's senior vice-president of research and analytics, said: "Backed by prospects of further price growth and a better leasing environment, foreign demand is expected to return gradually.

"We may see more luxury homes being sold in the coming months as more such projects are slated to be launched."

URA Realis data noted that the number of non-landed homes bought by foreigners rose 66.7 per cent, from 33 units in February to 55 in March.

Nineteen more new residential projects could be released by developers in the coming months, with almost half of these in prime districts, said ERA Realty research and consultancy head Nicholas Mak.

But the supply of new launches in the city fringe area is limited, with only two upcoming releases - the 165-unit One-north Eden and 288-unit LIV@MB condominium, he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2021, with the headline 'New private home sales for March hit 4-year high'. Subscribe