New private home sales rebound in Oct with 9% rise

This comes after two months of falls and despite continued Covid-19 measures

Sales of new private homes bounced back in October, after two months of consecutive declines, despite tightened Covid-19 measures still in place.

A total of 909 units moved last month, up 9 per cent from 834 units in September, although still fewer than the 1,216 units in August, Urban Redevelopment Authority data showed yesterday.

Sales last month was 39 per cent higher than the 654 units sold in October last year.

There were 661 new homes put on the market last month, which is three times more than the 210 units launched in September, and 39 per cent higher than the 423 units a year ago.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, noted that demand is holding up well across the three market segments.

New home sales in the suburbs made up 38.2 per cent of total sales, followed by homes in the city fringes and central Singapore at 30.9 per cent each, she said.

A total of 10,918 new homes were sold in the first 10 months of this year, surpassing full-year sales in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Ms Sun said she expects sales to hit an eight-year high with around 12,200 to 12,600 transactions this year.

Once executive condominiums (ECs) are included, new home sales slipped by 19.4 per cent to 1,045 units last month from 1,296 in September.

However, last month's numbers were up 50.6 per cent compared with October last year and recorded the highest monthly sales for October in five years.

Despite no new EC launches last month, developers sold 136 EC units.

Mr Lee noted that the number of unsold EC units left in the market is "running very low" with just 221 units based on latest figures.

"Based on this year's monthly sales rate of 108 EC units, excluding months where there are EC launches, there could be no available EC units left in the market by the time North Gaia in Yishun Close is launched for sale in the first quarter of next year," he said.

OrangeTee's Ms Sun noted that the supply of new homes is expected to drop further next year, as fewer collective deals have been successful in the past two years.

"Given the tight housing supply, many buyers are now purchasing for fear that prices may rise further and home choices could be limited in the future," she said.

PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor said there also appear to be renewed interest in new homes in central Singapore with the reopening of borders via the vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs).

The buying momentum is expected to pick up as more of such lanes are announced, he said, noting that foreigners accounted for 6.8 per cent of October new home purchases.

It is one of the highest percentages since 2018 when foreign buyers made up 6.3 per cent of new home sales, he added.

Buying momentum last month was boosted by Jervois Mansion, a freehold condominium project in District 10, which sold 99 per cent or 104 of 105 available units at a median price of $2,553 psf, noted Huttons Asia senior director of research Lee Sze Teck.

The low-rise project is close to the Bishopsgate-Chatsworth good class bungalow area.

The most expensive purchase last month was a freehold penthouse at Les Maisons Nassim for $75 million, or $6,210 psf, making it "possibly the priciest penthouse by quantum and psf in recent years", said Mr Lee.

Knight Frank Singapore head of research Leonard Tay noted that while the private residential market has so far "remained healthy with genuine buyers", there may come a point next year when buyers will eventually resist rising prices.

"When taken together with the expected increase in domestic borrowing rates in the second half of 2022, the current window characterised by brisk strong sales might not last beyond the next 12 months," he said.

At least four residential projects are slated for release in the last two months of the year, and will cover all three market segments, said ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak.

These are Cairnhill 16 in central Singapore, Canninghill Piers and Mori in the city fringe and The Commodore in the suburbs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2021, with the headline 'New private home sales rebound in Oct with 9% rise'. Subscribe