Developers sell 9,957 homes in first 7 months

DEVELOPERS’ sales of private homes surged 82 per cent month on month to 1,544 units in July from the low of 847 units in June, according to latest official figures. This reflects a resumption in home buying, which had taken a breather during the school holidays and World Cup.

However, sales are expected to slip to around 800-1,000 units again in August, on the back of slower launches during the Hungry Ghost Month, say some property agents. After this ends on September 7, both launches and sales will pick up again, they reckon.

In the first seven months of this year, developers have sold 9,957 private homes (excluding executive condos), after last year’s strong sales of 14,688 units.

CB Richard Ellis expects the full-year figure will be about 14,000 units. Jones Lang LaSalle’s estimate is 13,000-14,000 while DTZ’s SE Asia research head Chua Chor Hoon puts the number at 13,000-15,000 units.

‘The outlook still remains positive against the backdrop of Singapore’s economic growth and the low interest rate environment but buyers will be more selective given that so many Government Land Sale sites are being sold; this will translate to greater choice of new projects.

‘Prices have also been on the rise, so potential buyers will be more discerning in picking properties that have better potential for rental income or capital appreciation,’ Ms Chua added.

DTZ’s data shows that secondary market prices of completed private homes appreciated about 6-8 per cent in the first half of this year; her full-year forecast is an 8-13 per cent increase.

CB Richard Ellis executive director (residential) Joseph Tan reckons that developers are unlikely to test new price benchmarks when they resume launches next month. But prices are unlikely to fall below current levels either, as land prices remain high, he adds.

On the other hand, signs of buyer price resistance continue to prevail. Colliers International’s analysis of official developer monthly sales data released by Urban Redevelopment Authority shows that the proportion of private homes sold by developers priced at $1,500 psf and below was at its highest level in 10 months in July, at 88 per cent.The Outside Central Region, where mass-market properties are typically located, accounted for 42.8 per cent of the total 1,544 units sold by developers in July, while the Core Central Region, where the most expensive homes in Singapore are found, had a 17.9 per cent share.

Nonetheless, a handful of buyers picked up properties at top-line prices in July, notes CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho. The most expensive apartment/condominium unit (in terms of $ per square foot) sold by a developer in July was a unit at Boulevard Vue which fetched $4,600 per square foot. BT understands that Far East Organization sold the high-floor unit of 4,456 sq ft for $20.5 million.

URA’s data shows that other high-end deals last month included a unit at The Orchard Residences which sold at $4,099 psf and another at Skyline @ Orchard Boulevard at $3,719 psf.

The least expensive non-landed home was a unit at The Minton in Hougang which was transacted at $612 psf.

July’s surge in primary market sales came on the back of three major launches – 368 Thomson, Terrene at Bukit Timah and The Scala at Serangoon Avenue 3. Together, they made up 46.6 per cent of the total 1,544 units developers sold in July.

The top-selling project was The Scala, with 400 units transacted at a median price of $1,173 psf.

Also helping to boost last month’s sales were sell-out launches for three projects that comprised mostly one-bedders – the 51-unit Centra Studios at Lorong 25 Geylang, 99-unit Haig 162 and Leicester Suites (46 of its 47 units were sold last month). ‘Their success could be attributed to the affordably-priced small-format units they offered,’ says CBRE’s Mr Li.

Developers launched 1,335 private homes in July, up from 1,010 units in June.

Projects expected to be released after Ghosts Month include NV Residences in Pasir Ris, Twin Peaks on the Grangeford site, Cityscape in Mergui Road and Killiney 118.

Two executive condo projects – the 573-unit Esparina Residences at Compassvale Bow in Sengkang and Chinese developer MCC Land’s 406-unit The Canopy in Yishun – are slated for release in October, say market watchers.

Source : AsiaOne – 17 Aug 2010

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