New private home sales slump in August amid Hungry Ghost month, limited unsold stock

Year on year, there was a 64 per cent fall in sales from 1,216 units sold in August last year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A dearth of new condominium launches amid the Hungry Ghost Festival and limited unsold stock sent new private home sales tumbling in August to a 28-month low.

Data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday showed that 437 residential units, excluding executive condominium (EC) units, were sold last month, down 47.6 per cent from 834 in July. This was the lowest monthly sales since April 2020 when just 277 new units were sold during the circuit breaker period.

This, as the number of new homes launched for sale plunged 66.7 per cent month on month to 134 - the lowest number of units launched since September 2017, Huttons Asia said.

Year on year, there was a 64 per cent fall in sales from 1,216 units sold in August last year. Including exec condos, sales dropped by 47 per cent to 448 units from 846 in July.

But analysts believe sales should improve this month with the upcoming launch of GuocoLand's 605-unit Lentor Modern and following robust sales by Sky Eden@Bedok, which sold about 75 per cent of its 158 units at its Sept 7 launch.

Some say underlying demand remains strong in light of the strong performance by suburban launches AMO Residence in July and Sky Eden@Bedok this month.

CBRE's head of research for South-east Asia Tricia Song said nine of the top 10 condo sellers came from the city fringe and the prime district.

"That's a possible indication that home buyers are seeing value in these two segments as their price gap has narrowed, (compared to) recent mass-market launches that have crossed the $2,000 per sq ft (psf) threshold," she said.

A proxy for the luxury home segment, the prime district accounted for half of last month's new home sales with 220 units sold, while projects in the city fringe moved 127 units, and the suburbs 90 units, said Huttons Asia senior director of research Lee Sze Teck.

"It is the first time since October 2017 that sales in the prime district exceeded 50 per cent of total monthly sales. Buyers are shifting their focus to this segment as the median price psf between the prime and city-fringe segments narrowed to 14.9 per cent in August, compared with 41.6 per cent in January this year," added Mr Lee.

Among the top-selling condos were Hyll on Holland, which sold 42 units at a median price of $2,674 psf, and Riviere, which sold 28 units at a median price of $2,862 psf, according to CBRE.

OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun said inflation and rising interest rates do not appear to have dented buyer sentiment significantly so far.

The successful launches of Sky Eden@Bedok and AMO Residence "testify that affordability is not an issue for some buyers. Even at higher price points, units are being snapped up," she said.

Two exec condo launches including Copen Grand, the first exec condo launch in Tengah, and another at Tampines Street 62 should help alleviate the squeeze on new home supply in the suburbs, she added.

But Ms Song cautioned that transaction volume and price growth are expected to moderate in the second half in the face of rising interest rates and heightened macroeconomic headwinds.

Including 4,222 new homes sold in the first half of the year, preliminary new developer sales (excluding exec condos) for January through August now stand at 5,493 units, 40.8 per cent below the 9,277 units sold over the same period last year, she added.

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