New private home sales enjoyed their best September in seven years, while reaching heights not seen since the cooling measures were imposed in July last year.
The sales surge - 1,270 new private homes were sold, up 13 per cent from August - came as developers revved up launches after the Hungry Ghost month, with some in the city-fringe area proving catnip for buyers. Four of five new launches last month - Avenue South Residence, Meyer Mansion, The Antares and Uptown@Farrer - are in the city fringe, while Cuscaden Reserve is in prime district 10.
Nearly 60 per cent of last month's sales were in the city fringe, known in the industry as the rest of central region.
Avenue South Residence in Silat Avenue rode on the hype around the future Greater Southern Waterfront development announced in August to make top seller last month, with 361 units moved at a median price of $1,941 per sq ft.
"But Meyer Mansion, The Antares, Uptown@Farrer and Cuscaden Reserve did not fare so well, moving between five and 31 units in their first month," noted Ms Tricia Song, head of research for Singapore at Colliers International.
The 1,270 new private homes bought last month were also 36 per cent more than the 932 units sold in September last year, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data yesterday. The figures exclude executive condominiums.
The last time new sales in September were higher was in 2012, when 2,621 units were sold.
Last month's figure brings the number of new private homes sold in the third quarter to 3,572 units - 19 per cent higher than in the third quarter of last year, said JLL senior director of research and consultancy Ong Teck Hui. It is also the highest quarterly sales volume since the second quarter of 2013, when tighter loan-to-income rules under the total debt servicing ratio were introduced, he noted.
"The increases in the URA private home price index in the second and third quarters could be interpreted (as a sign) that prices are likely to be stable with limited downside, and this would give confidence to developers to continue launching their projects," Mr Ong said.
Developers launched 1,714 private homes last month, up 69 per cent from 1,015 units in August, and nearly 47 per cent more than the 1,169 units in September last year, URA data showed.
Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, noted that last month's new-sales volume was driven mainly by Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents.
"This indicates that many Singaporeans remain confident about the long-term prospects of private properties here. Many investors have reassessed their risk appetite... possibly turning to safer investment assets like real estate in Singapore," she added.
Analysts believe private new home sales will exceed 9,000 this year and beat last year's 8,795 units.
But some maintain the market is not overheating. Even though the URA's flash estimate for the third quarter indicates that private home prices rose 0.9 per cent over the previous quarter, the rate of growth is decelerating, noted Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty. This followed the 1.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in the second quarter.
Mr Mak noted that last month's take-up rate slipped to 74.1 per cent amid high sales volumes. By comparison, the take-up rate ranged between 110 per cent and 130 per cent a month in the June to August period.