December new home sales drop due to absence of new launches, slowdown due to holidays

Whistler Grand showroom during its first weekend launch in November, 2018. The condominium in West Coast sold another 128 units in December.
Whistler Grand showroom during its first weekend launch in November, 2018. The condominium in West Coast sold another 128 units in December.PHOTO: CITY DEVELOPMENTS

SINGAPORE - Developers in Singapore sold 602 private homes last month, about half the 1,201 units they moved the previous month, according to figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday (Jan 15).

They blamed the absence of new project launches and the typical slowdown in marketing activity due to year-end holidays.

Developers released 101 private homes in December - down 92 per cent from the bumper 1,342 units launched in November and down 56 per cent from 231 released in December 2017. It was the lowest number of new private homes launched since September 2017, according to JLL senior director of research and consultancy Ong Teck Hui.

But there is a silver lining. The number of units sold last month - 602 units excluding executive condominiums (ECs) - was up nearly 40 per cent from the 431 units sold in December 2017.

It was the highest number of sales in the month of December since 1,410 units were sold in December 2012, Ms Tricia Song, Colliers' head of research for Singapore, noted.

Among the top performers last month were existing launches such as Parc Esta (160 units sold) and Whistler Grand (128 units). Double-digit sales were also registered for projects like Riverfront Residences in Hougang, Stirling Residences in Stirling Road, and Affinity at Serangoon.

Of the 101 units launched in December, 100 were from Affinity at Serangoon, OrangeTee & Tie research and consultancy head Christine Sun noted.

Developers launched an estimated 8,773 private residential units and sold an estimated 9,264 units (excluding ECs) in the whole of last year. In 2017, 6,020 new private homes were launched, while 10,566 units were sold.

The URA's figures were based on its survey of licensed housing developers.

About 40 per cent of developer sales were transacted in the last five months of 2018.

Analysts say this indicated that sales demand is encouraging despite market challenges such as the July 6 cooling measures, more curbs on shoebox units being built in certain locations, rising interest rates, stock market fluctuations and rising trade tensions between the US and China.

"While the macro-economic conditions remain uncertain, Singapore's economic growth and job market are expected to remain firm this year," Ms Sun said.

"The ongoing sales momentum at several new projects may indicate that the property market could be reaching equilibrium soon as prices are stabilising and more buyers are streaming back."

"A bonanza of between 19,000 and 21,000 new homes from over 60 new projects are expected to be launched this year. We anticipate that the current buying momentum will continue and the supply-led demand may see developers' home sales reaching 10,000 to 11,000 units for 2019."

Many projects are expected to be launched after the Chinese New Year including The Florence Residences in Kovan and Treasure @ Tampines.