SINGAPORE - New home sales posted a surprise rebound, with developers selling 998 non-landed private homes in June, up 105 per cent from 487 private homes in May, as showflats were allowed to reopen on June 19 after a two-month partial lockdown ended.
The numbers - the highest monthly sales for June in seven years - seem to indicate resilience in the property market, as also evidenced by a 22 per cent rise in new home sales from 821 a year ago.
Fewer new private homes were launched for sale: 597 in June, slightly lower than 615 units in May, and down nearly 11 per cent from 670 a year ago.
The figures, released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Monday (July 15), exclude executive condominium (EC) units, which are a public-private housing hybrid.
First-time home buyers taking advantage of a drop in prices and lower interest rates, plus workers in sectors that have not yet felt the pain of the pandemic-induced recession, such as technology and the civil service, are underpinning demand, Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty, told Bloomberg.
Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, noted that last month's sales volume increase was broad-based across all market segments.
New homes sales transacted in the city fringes or rest of central region jumped 127.5 per cent month on month to 430 units in June, while those in the outlying areas or outside central region rose 90.3 per cent to 489 units, and those in the prime districts or core central region (CCR) surged 92.7 per cent to 79 units over the same period.
New sales were propped up mainly by Treasure at Tampines, Parc Clematis, The Florence Residences, Parc Esta, Stirling Residences and JadeScape. Kopar at Newton remained as the top-selling project in the CCR, with 25 transactions in June.
With the circuit breaker period lifted, more foreign buyers with deeper pockets returned to the Singapore market.
According to URA realis data downloaded on July 15, the number of non-landed homes bought by foreigners last month rose to 49 units, higher than the 33 units in June 2019, said Ms Sun. The number of such homes bought by Singapore permanent residents also surged, to 120 units from 86 units a year ago.
The URA realis data also showed that the number of private homes, excluding ECs, transacting at $2 million and above rose from 23 units in May to 129 units in June.
In terms of proportion to the total sales (excluding ECs), 13 per cent of new homes were transacted at $2 million and above in June, compared with 5 per cent in May, Ms Sun noted.
"Many foreigners have bought properties last month as macroeconomic uncertainties have driven more overseas investors to seek shelter in safe-haven assets here," she said.
"Although showflats reopened last month, more foreign buyers are purchasing private homes remotely due to the border lockdowns or travel restrictions. This is in stark contrast to the past where many foreigners typically buy a unit only after visiting a showflat," she added.
Including 33 EC units, 1,031 new non-landed homes were taken up last month, about 25 per cent more than a year ago, the URA data showed.