Resale condos see strong sales as prices hold firm: SRX

An estimated 1,286 resale condominiums changed hands last month - up 0.4 per cent from August.
An estimated 1,286 resale condominiums changed hands last month - up 0.4 per cent from August. PHOTO: ST FILE

The prices of resale condominiums held firm amid robust demand last month, with more than 1,000 units sold for the third straight month.

An estimated 1,286 resale condominium units changed hands last month - up 0.4 per cent from August and 62.8 per cent higher than in September last year, according to flash figures from real estate portal SRX Property yesterday.

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 that some home buyers believe the worst impact of the pandemic in Singapore is over and it is time to re-enter the market... the fear of losing out is greater than the fear of hungry ghosts."

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 33.9 per cent of condo resale transactions last month were for units between 800 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.

Last month's resale transactions included two bulk purchases of apartments in the Balestier Road area - 12 units at Victory Point and 10 units at Crescent Building - by companies, according to URA Realis data.

Despite the rise in demand, resale condo prices last month remained stable, inching up by 0.1 per cent from August, and by the same amount over September last year.

The core central region (CCR) and the 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 in the CCR that went for $16.2 million was last month'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 highest sale in the OCR came from a $4.8 million unit at The Trilinq in Clementi.

Looking ahead, Mr Mak said the new restrictions on developers reissuing options to purchase (OTPs) announced on Sept 28 may cause some buyers to explore the resale property market instead of new projects.

Under the terms of a standard OTP, buyers of new private homes have three weeks to book their right to buy a property from a developer after making a cash down payment, 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 developers had been reissuing OTPs to buyers, giving them more time to line up the funds needed to make the purchase and avoid paying the additional buyer's stamp duty.

Home buyers who need completed properties after selling their existing homes would also 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 the property after the deal is sealed.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2020, with the headline Resale condos see strong sales as prices hold firm: SRX. Subscribe