New private home sales were lacklustre last month with developers holding off on big new project launches as the Chinese Hungry Ghost period spanned most of the month.
Developers sold just 657 units - down 47 per cent from 1,246 units in August, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data yesterday.
It was much the same in the executive condominium (EC) segment, where transactions came in at 249 last month, down 27 per cent from the 341 moved in August. But total EC sales in the third quarter were estimated at 1,570 - the highest since the fourth quarter of 2012, said Mr Ong Teck Hui, national director of research and consultancy at JLL.
The sales slump in both segments was due to the absence of large new project launches last month as developers consider it inauspicious to release property during the Hungry Ghost period. Only 73 private units were released for sale last month, the lowest since December 2014 and down 85 per cent from 479 homes launched in September last year.
While it was an anaemic month, sales of new private homes last month were up to 657 from 509 in September last year. The take-up of new homes, excluding ECs, for the first nine months of the year has also been robust, jumping 62.9 per cent to 9,582 from 5,883 in the same period last year.
Last month's top-selling private residential project was Chinese developer Kingsford's Kingsford Waterbay in Upper Serangoon Road. It sold 45 units at a median price of $1,289 per sq ft. Parc Life in Sembawang Crescent led the EC segment, selling 48 units at a median price of $795 per sq ft.
"After third-quarter private property prices registered a first-time increase in four years, more buyers are likely commit to a purchase earlier rather than wait," Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty, said.
Some developers may also be holding off selling remaining units in existing launches given dwindling unsold inventory and expectations of higher prices, said OrangeTee's research and consultancy head Wong Xian Yang.
CapitaLand's Marine Blue and Sky Habitat, Lendlease's Park Place Residences, Qingjian Realty estate Le Quest and GuocoLand condo Martin Modern are some projects that have halted sales or are releasing units in phases, he noted.
Meanwhile, EC sales slowed last month to 249 units, a 27 per cent drop from August. But the total number of sales in the third quarter, estimated at 1,570 units, is the highest since the fourth quarter of 2012, Mr Ong noted.
Combined, there were 906 private homes and ECs sold last month, a 43 per cent drop compared with 1,581 in August.