New private home sales in December down 53% from November but up 10.6% from year ago: URA data

Developers sold 2,635 units in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 43.5 per cent from 1,836 units in the same quarter a year ago. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Developers in Singapore moved 538 private homes in December 2019, half of the 1,147 units they sold in the previous month, amid a dearth of new launches. The latest figure, however, is 10.6 per cent higher than the 602 units sold in December 2018.

Developers sold 2,635 units in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 43.5 per cent from 1,836 units in the same quarter a year ago.

For the whole of last year, their sales totalled 10,104 units, which is 14.9 per cent higher than the 8,795 in 2018.

The latest data - which excludes executive condominium (EC) units - was released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday (Jan 15) based on its survey of licensed housing developers.

Including ECs, which are a public-private housing hybrid, developers moved 551 units last month, down 53.5 per cent from the 1,168 units they sold in November, and 8.9 per cent lower than the 605 sold in December 2018.

The lower sales volume in December was expected because of the year-end school holidays and the lack of new launches to excite buyers, said Mr Lee Sze Teck, Huttons Asia's director of research.

Only 370 units were launched in December 2019, compared with 947 in November.

Many developers held back their official launches in anticipation of a resurgence in buying interest, which usually occurs at the beginning of the year when buyers start returning after the year-end holidays, said Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie.

About 30 launches have already been lined up for the first half of this year, with about half located in the core central region or prime districts and the rest evenly spread between the rest of central region or city fringes and the outside of central region.

Huttons Asia's Mr Lee noted that six of the top 10 selling projects last year were in the outside central region, with the remaining in the rest of central region. "This is unsurprising as the bulk of the demand will come from the HDB upgraders market. With the HDB resale market bottoming out in 2019, this segment of buyers will likely bolster the buying volume in 2020."

Some of the top selling projects in December were Parc Botannia, with 49 units sold at a median price of $1,345 per square foot (psf), Parc Esta with 45 units sold at a median price $1,666 psf and Parc Clematis with 40 units sold at a median price $1,638 psf.

Jadescape sold 37 units at a median price of $1,715 psf while One Holland Village Residences had 35 units changing hands at a median price of $2,768.

In 2020, there could potentially be up to 50 launches and 11,000 new units put on the market, Mr Lee said.

The sales momentum in 2019 is likely to carry forward in 2020, he noted. With positive news on the economy and bottoming out of the HDB resale market, sales volume could maintain at a similar level of between 9,000 and 10,000 units in 2020.

Ms Sun said demand for new homes this year could hover between 9,000 and 9,800 units, with prices rising 2 per cent to 4 per cent.

With additional information from The Straits Times

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