No sign of slowdown in private home buying

Business Times: Tue, Oct 18
(SINGAPORE) The latest developer sales numbers for September gave no hint of any slowdown in private home buying. Most analysts said September’s surprisingly strong sales, released yesterday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, were driven by deve…
(SINGAPORE) The latest developer sales numbers for September gave no hint of any slowdown in private home buying.

Most analysts said September’s surprisingly strong sales, released yesterday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, were driven by developers rolling out new projects, especially in Outside Central Region, where mass-market developments are located, at prices that buyers still found reasonable.

‘There is fear of investing in alternative instruments and relative safety in a brick-and-mortar asset class like real estate. Interest rates are still low,’ notes DTZ’s SE Asia chief operating officer Ong Choon Fah.

The 1,631 private homes excluding executive condos (ECs) developers sold in September was up 20.7 per cent month on month and the second best showing so far this year (after April’s 1,805 units). The number of private homes launched in September – 1,919 – was also the second highest year to date after the 2,055 units in April.

In addition, developers sold 433 executive condos (ECs) last month, up about 49 per cent from August. CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho says sales momentum for ECs was likely to have been boosted by the $2,000 increase in the monthly household income ceiling for new EC buyers to $12,000 announced in mid-August.

Including ECs, developers found buyers for 2,064 units in September, a month-on-month increase of 25.8 per cent.

Analysts say that to some extent, last month’s strong sales were driven by launches. Developers released 2,493 private homes including ECs in September, up almost 81 per cent from August.

Outside Central Region or OCR (where mass-market projects are located) was the star performer, accounting for 78.4 per cent of total 1,919 units launched and 81 per cent of the 1,631 units (excluding ECs) sold in September. Launches and sales in OCR were led by A Treasure Trove near Punggol MRT Station, which saw 683 units sold last month at a median price of $915 psf.

Colliers International’s analysis showed that about 59 per cent of the 1,631 private homes sold by developers in September were priced at $1,000 psf or less.

Based on monthly sales data, developers have sold 4,380 private homes for Q3 2011 (although URA will release the final figures for Q3 on Oct 28, factoring in returned units). The preliminary Q3 number is 1.4 per cent lower than the Q2 figure and takes the tally for the first nine months of 2011 to 12,419, slightly ahead of the 12,051 in the same period of 2010, notes Credo Real Estate executive director Ong Teck Hui. ‘This shows the market momentum in 2011 is holding well. It is possible that 2011 will end with almost as many units sold as in 2010 – unless a major calamity occurs in Q4,’ he added.

For the whole of last year, developers sold 16,292 private homes and 1,052 ECs. EC sales in the first nine months of 2011 totalled 2,468.

Top sellers in September included EuHabitat at Jalan Eunos (138 units at median price of $1,191 psf) and The Meyerise at Meyer Road (108 units sold at $1,789 psf median price). Arc At Tampines, the first EC project launched after the announcement of the higher income ceiling for EC buyers, registered sales of 233 units at a median price of $734 psf in September.

Knight Frank chairman Tan Tiong Cheng feels the buying momentum could continue. He argues that developers can launch new projects at lower prices as land prices at recent state tenders have fallen.

Meanwhile, MCL Land is said to have sold out over the past two weeks its 121-unit freehold cluster housing project Este Villa in the Seletar Hills area. An intermediate terrace house has a strata area of about 3,400 sq ft and is priced at about $2.1-2.2 million on average or about $600-plus per square foot.

BT’s analysis showed that home buyers returned about 70-plus units in September, including EC units. Euhabitat topped the list with 17 units returned, followed by Boathouse Residences (12 units) and The Luxurie in Sengkang (5 units).

The priciest unit sold by a developer in September was a unit at The Marq on Paterson Hill, which sold for $4,612 psf, followed by a Scotts Square unit which fetched $4,059 psf.

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

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