SINGAPORE - Sales of new private homes bounced back in October, after two months of consecutive declines, despite tightened Covid-19 measures still in place.
A total of 909 units moved last month, up 9 per cent from 834 units in September, although still fewer than the 1,216 units in August, Urban Redevelopment Authority data showed on Monday (Nov 15).
Sales last month was 39 per cent higher than the 654 units sold in October last year.
There were 661 new homes put on the market last month, which is three times more than the 210 units launched in September, and 39 per cent higher than the 423 units a year ago.
Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, noted that demand is holding up well across the three market segments.
New home sales in the suburbs made up 38.2 per cent of total sales, followed by homes in the city fringes and central Singapore at 30.9 per cent each, she said.
A total of 10,918 new homes were sold in the first 10 months of this year, surpassing full-year sales in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Ms Sun said she expects sales to hit an eight-year high with around 12,200 to 12,600 transactions this year. The previous high was in 2013 with 14,948 units.
Once executive condominiums (ECs) are included, new home sales slipped by 19.4 per cent to 1,045 units last month from 1,296 in September.
However, last month's numbers were up 50.6 per cent compared with October last year and recorded the highest monthly sales for October in five years.
Despite no new EC launches last month, developers sold 136 EC units.
Parc Greenwich EC, launched in September to strong demand, moved 84 units last month at a median price of $1,251 per sq ft (psf).
Mr Lee noted that the number of unsold EC units left in the market is "running very low" with just 221 units based on latest figures.
"Based on this year's monthly sales rate of 108 EC units, excluding months where there are EC launches, there could be no available EC units left in the market by the time North Gaia in Yishun Close is launched for sale in the first quarter of next year," he said.
OrangeTee's Ms Sun noted that the supply of new homes is expected to drop further next year, as fewer collective deals have been successful in the past two years.
"Given the tight housing supply, many buyers are now purchasing for fear that prices may rise further and home choices could be limited in the future," she said.
PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor said there also appear to be renewed interest in new homes in central Singapore with the reopening of borders via the vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs).
The buying momentum is expected to pick up as more of such lanes are announced, he added.
"VTLs have facilitated more foreign buyers and overseas investors to have easier access to Singapore's property market," he said, noting that foreigners accounted for 6.8 per cent of October new home purchases.
It is one of the highest percentages since 2018 when foreign buyers made up 6.3 per cent of new home sales, he added.
Buying momentum last month was boosted by Jervois Mansion, a freehold condominium project in District 10, which sold 99 per cent or 104 of 105 available units at a median price of $2,553 psf, noted Huttons Asia senior director of research Lee Sze Teck.
The low-rise project, which is close to the Bishopsgate-Chatsworth good class bungalow (GCB) area, was launched in September.
The second best-selling project for last month was Normanton Park, which sold 73 units at a median price of $1,839 psf. It has consistently been in the top 10 best-selling projects list since its launch in January.
The most expensive purchase last month was a freehold penthouse at Les Maisons Nassim for $75 million, or $6,210 psf, making it "possibly the priciest penthouse by quantum and psf in recent years", said Mr Lee.
Knight Frank Singapore head of research Leonard Tay noted that while the private residential market has so far "remained healthy with genuine buyers", there may come a point next year when buyers will eventually resist rising prices.
"When taken together with the expected increase in domestic borrowing rates in the second half of 2022, the current window characterised by brisk strong sales might not last beyond the next 12 months," he said.
"Therefore, it's likely that developers with projects on hand will use the next six to nine months to launch and reduce inventory before the post-pandemic recovery fervour tapers off with the anticipated higher mortgage rates."
At least four residential projects are slated for release in the last two months of the year, and will cover all three market segments, said ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak.
These are Cairnhill 16 in central Singapore, CanningHill Piers in the city fringe and The Commodore in the suburbs.
The Mori, a 137-unit freehold condo in the Geylang area is also scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of this year.