New private home sales in S'pore surge 82.2% in July despite tightened Covid-19 curbs

Pasir Ris 8, near Pasir Ris MRT station, was the only residential project launched last month. PHOTO: ALLGREEN PROPERTIES

SINGAPORE - Sales of new private homes surged in July, making for the second-highest monthly sales this year despite tightened Covid-19 restrictions in the second half of last month.

Developers sold 1,589 units in July, up 82.2 per cent from 872 units in June, according to figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday (Aug 16).

This is the highest sales since January, when 1,633 units were sold.

The growth came even as house viewings and the visitor capacity at sales galleries were reduced as Singapore returned to phase two (heightened alert) from July 22.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, said the tightened measures did not seem to dampen market sentiment significantly.

"Sales picked up across many projects last month as buyers returned to the private residential market in droves. Some rushed to buy units for fear of being priced out of the market," she added.

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

Including ECs sold, developers moved 1,744 new homes last month - 81.3 per cent higher than in June, and an increase of 52.3 per cent from a year ago.

Year on year, new private home sales last month rose 46.7 per cent from July 2020.

New sales last month were propped up by Pasir Ris 8, Normanton Park, Midwood, Sengkang Grand Residences, Ki Residences at Brookvale, Parc Clematis, and Treasure at Tampines, said Ms Sun.

The outside central region accounted for the bulk, or 63.7 per cent, of new home purchases, excluding ECs, due to strong demand for private homes in the suburban region, she added.

PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor said the recent Government Land Sales tender activity - where Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and Lentor Central received top bids of $1,118 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) and $1,204 psf ppr respectively from developers- likely catalysed the strong sales.

"The news of aggressive land prices triggered many to realise that future launch prices are likely to rise further. A good number of investors and buyers, who have been waiting for the right opportunity, decided to enter the market in July in anticipation of possible price hikes in future," he added.

Meanwhile, developers launched 1,104 units in July, according to the data URA obtained through its survey of developers. This was an increase of 35.5 per cent compared with June and 27 per cent from a year ago.

Pasir Ris 8, near Pasir Ris MRT station, was the only residential project launched last month. No new ECs were launched.

Huttons Asia chief executive Mark Yip said there were more purchases by Singaporeans in July - at 86.3 per cent - compared with the 81.8 per cent in June.

"This is probably due to the launch of Pasir Ris 8, which is located in the outside central region where the demand is predominantly HDB upgraders. More than 6,000 flats in Pasir Ris and Tampines, which were completed from 2014 to 2016, have met the five-year minimum occupation period and (the owners) are thus eligible to upgrade," he added.

Nearly half of the transactions in July were priced below $1.5 million, about 29 per cent were between $1.5 million and $2 million, and 21.5 per cent were above $2 million. The average price paid for a unit in July was $1.7 million, Huttons said.

Mr Yip said that developers are likely to push ahead with their launches to ride on the positive momentum, although August is the seventh month of the lunar calendar, also known as the Hungry Ghost month.

"August is likely to be another month where developers' sales cross the 1000-unit mark. This will whittle down the unsold stock in the market to even lower levels, setting the stage for sustained price growth in the months ahead."

Upcoming launches include the 448-unit The Watergardens at Canberra, the 138-unit Klimt Cairnhill and the 697-unit Canninghill Piers.

Mr Wong Xian Yang, head of research for Singapore at Cushman & Wakefield, said underlying demand is likely to stay firm as interest rates remain relatively low.

"Barring new cooling measures, total new private home sales is on course to exceed 11,000 units (excluding ECs) by the end of 2021, locking in the highest annual new sales figure since 2013, which saw 14,948 new sales," he added.

"Total new sales could potentially be higher if not for dwindling unsold inventory and (Covid-19) restrictions which have led to a delay in some launches."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.