New private home sales up 51% in Sept

Rosy figures come after cooling measures, Hungry Ghost Festival led to slowdown in August sales

Buyers were back in force last month to send private home sales rocketing out of the doldrums they fell into after new cooling measures and the slowdown during the Hungry Ghost month.

Developers sold 932 private homes last month, up 51 per cent from the 617 units they moved in August and around 42 per cent ahead of the 657 units booked in September last year.

The September figures exclude executive condominiums.

If these were included, developers moved 944 units last month - up 47.5 per cent from August's 640 units and 4.2 per cent ahead of the 906 units sold in September last year, based on an Urban Redevelopment Authority survey of developers that was out yesterday.

Last month's top-selling project was 99-year leasehold JadeScape on the former Shunfu Ville site near Marymount MRT station, with 327 units sold at a median price of $1,669 per sq ft (psf).

Selangor Dredging's freehold Jui Residences in Serangoon Road, which was also launched last month, racked up 31 sales at a median price of $1,704 psf.

Oxley Holdings sold 82 units at Mayfair Gardens in Rifle Range Road at a median price of $1,945 psf, while Tripartite Developers' project The Jovell, located in Flora Drive in the Loyang area, moved 41 units at a median price of $1,259 psf last month. Both projects are on 99-year leases.

Ms Christine Li, Cushman & Wakefield's Singapore senior director and head of research, said that the September sales numbers were "quite encouraging", given that the Hungry Ghost Festival continued into the early part of the month. Some buyers avoid entering into property transactions during the period.

"In fact, 2018's September sales are the highest September new home sales since 2013," noted Ms Li.

JLL national director of research and consultancy Ong Teck Hui said market confidence seems to have improved, with seven new private residential projects launched last month.

However, while developers have become more confident in launching projects, "they are still grappling with setting an appropriate price level to attract buyers", added Mr Ong.

"Those who do better in pricing (taking into account location and other attributes) manage to achieve better sales take-up. Even previously launched projects such as Stirling Residences, Park Colonial and Riverfront Residences are selling reasonably well at current price levels," Mr Ong noted.

ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim expects developers to move 9,000 to 10,000 private homes for the whole of this year, down from the 10,566 units last year.

"With a wide selection of new projects coming up, buying demand is not expected to increase significantly as buyers evaluate their housing needs, options and finances," he said.

"We have not observed significant price discounts yet. Developers who have bought land at high prices would need to sell even higher in order to remain profitable. This provides support for property prices in the short term, barring any external shocks."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2018, with the headline New private home sales up 51% in Sept. Subscribe