Developers reaped their rewards last month with buoyant sales of new private homes, which raised hopes that transactions for the full year may still match last year's stellar level.
There were 1,121 units shifted last month, 53 per cent up on April and 8 per cent more than the same month last year.
But the bigger picture tells its own story: 4,427 private homes and executive condominiums were sold in the first five months of the year - 40 per cent down on the 7,388 units moved in the same period last year, the Urban Redevelopment Authority noted yesterday.
That leaves a big gap to overhaul if total sales this year are to surpass last year's.
"The implication is that sales will have to pick up strongly, especially in the second half of 2018, if 2017's new (private) home sales of 10,566 units are to be matched or surpassed," said JLL national director of research and consultancy Ong Teck Hui.
JPMorgan property analyst Brandon Lee pointed to major developments in the second half that could dampen sentiment.
One is rising mortgage rates that might cause marginal buyers, including purchasers of mass market units who are traditionally most sensitive, to take a longer time to commit.
4,427 Number of private homes and executive condominiums sold in the first five months of this year.
7,388 Number of units moved in the same period last year.
The sustainability of the collective sales cycle and the Government Land Sales programme for the second half could also determine whether more new projects are launched.
ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim noted that all the one-and two-bedroom units were sold at Twin VEW in West Coast Vale by CSC Land Group, and property investors still formed a significant source of demand.
Those who have received their collective sale proceeds could split the funds, buying a home to live in and one for investment, he added.
Last month's two major launches were Twin VEW, which sold 87 per cent of 520 units at a median price of $1,385 per sq ft (psf), and UOL Group's Amber 45, where 62 per cent of 139 units were snapped up at $2,378 psf.
There were also two smaller launches - Oxley Holding's Sixteen35 Residences sold 45 units at a median price of $1,511 psf, while the same firm's Sea Pavilion Residences saw 14 of 24 units taken up at a median price of $1,852 psf.
Developers have wasted no time this month, although they usually avoid releasing major projects during the school holidays.
But that did not stop The Garden Residences, Affinity at Serangoon, Margaret Ville and 120 Grange hitting the market.
While sales are lagging this year, Ms Tricia Song, Colliers International's Singapore research head, is confident that momentum will catch up with more launches in the second half of the year.
These include the 1,259-unit Stirling Residences, 805-unit Park Colonial, 327-unit Daintree Residence, 1,472-unit Riverfront Residences (former Rio Casa) and Jadescape (former Shunfu Ville).
All will be put on the market in the coming months.
Ms Song said: "Colliers expects 12,600 new private homes to be sold in the whole of 2018, up from 10,566 units in 2017."