Singapore new home sales up in July amid worsening economic outlook

There were 869 private homes launched in July, up nearly 46 per cent from 597 units in June. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - New home sales continued to rise for a third straight month amid a worsening economic outlook, with developers selling 1,080 non-landed private homes in July, up 8.2 per cent from 998 private homes in June.

But year on year, sales were down 8.4 per cent from 1,179.

More new private homes were launched ahead of the Hungry Ghost month, which starts on Aug 19. There were 869 private homes launched in July, up nearly 46 per cent from 597 units in June, but were down 4.6 per cent from 911 a year ago.

The figures, released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday (Aug 17), exclude executive condominium (EC) units, which are a public-private housing hybrid.

Including EC units, 1,142 new non-landed homes were taken up last month, up nearly 11 per cent from June, but sales were down about 27 per cent from 1,557 a year ago, the URA data showed.

New sales were propped up mainly by Treasure at Tampines, Parc Clematis, The Florence Residences, JadeScape, and Daintree Residence.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, said more buyers appeared to be buying pricier homes in the suburban and city fringe areas last month.

This was despite Singapore suffering a deeper recession in the second quarter than expected, with the economy contracting by 13.2 per cent year on year, sharper than a 12.6 per cent plunge earlier estimated and the worst on record, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said last week.

Based on URA Realis data, the proportion of non-landed private homes (excluding ECs) in the city fringes or rest of central region transacted above $2 million jumped to 16.8 per cent in July from 12.8 per cent in June.

The number of transactions rose 27.8 per cent month on month from 54 units to 69 units over the same period, Ms Sun noted.

Ms Wong Siew Ying, head of research at PropNex, noted that while the relatively brisk sales in recent months may seem at odds with the gloomy economic prognosis, the current downturn is not felt evenly across all sectors of the economy.

"Some sectors - such as financial services and tech - have held up better than others, and (those who) feel more secure about their job prospects or have built up substantial savings may see this as an opportune time to enter the market," she said.

"We remain cautiously optimistic about the new home sales volume, which should find support from upcoming new launches," she added.

These include Penrose in Sims Drive, The Landmark in Chin Swee Road, Myra in Potong Pasir, Verdale in Jalan Jurong Kechil, and Ki Residences in Brookvale Drive.

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