SINGAPORE - The prices of resale condominiums held firm amid robust demand in September, with more than 1,000 units sold for three straight months.
An estimated 1,286 resale condominiums changed hands last month - up 0.4 per cent from August and 62.8 per cent higher than September last year, according to flash figures from real estate portal SRX Property on Tuesday (Oct 13).
Mr Nicholas Mak, ERA Realty's head of research and consultancy said the Hungry Ghost Festival from Aug 19 to Sept 16, which some believe is an inauspicious period to make major decisions, had not stopped home buyers from purchasing real estate.
"One reason is some home buyers believe the worst impact of the pandemic in Singapore is over and it is time to re-enter the market. As such, the fear of losing out is greater than the fear of the Hungry Ghosts," Mr Mak said.
Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie said more buyers are thronging the resale market in search of "value buys", especially attractively priced, large-sized resale units.
She said URA Realis data showed that about 33.9 per cent of condo resale transactions in September were for units between 800 square feet (sq ft) and 1,200 sq ft, while 47.7 per cent of transactions were for larger units of 1,200 sq ft and above.
September's resales also included two bulk purchases of apartments in Balestier Road by companies - 12 units at Victory Point in Balestier Road and 10 units in Crescent Building, according to the URA Realis data.
Despite the rise in demand, resale condo prices in September remained stable, inching up by 0.1 per cent from August, and by the same amount over the same month last year.
The core central region (CCR) and rest of central region (RCR) saw a marginal resale price increase of 0.5 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively, while the outside central region (OCR) saw a 0.5 per cent decrease.
A condo unit at Le Nouvel Ardmore in Tanglin which went for $16.2 million was September's most expensive resale purchase. In the city fringes or RCR, the highest price was for a $5.1 million unit at Camelot By-The-Water in Tanjong Rhu Road, while the OCR's highest sale came from a $4.8 million unit at The Trilinq in Clementi.
Looking ahead, Mr Mak said the new restrictions on developers re-issuing options to purchase (OTPs) announced on Sept 28 may cause some buyers to explore the resale property market instead.
Under the terms of a standard OTP, buyers of new private homes have three weeks to book their right to purchase a property from a developer in return for a cash downpayment, which is up to 5 per cent of the price of the unit. If the buyer does not exercise the right to buy, he may forfeit 25 per cent of the booking fee. But some developer had been reissuing OTPs to buyers, giving them more time to line up the funds needed to make the purchase and avoid paying Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty.
"(As) such practices are restricted, a home buyer who needs a completed property after selling his existing home, would look to the resale market because the majority of properties in the primary market are still under development," said Mr Mak.
He added that possible construction delays due to lockdowns in worker dormitories could also make resale properties more attractive given the certainty of getting the keys to property after the deal is sealed.