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New private home sales down 27% in October

New private home sales down 27% in October.

But sales up nearly 85% from a year ago, with more affordable earlier launches selling well

Demand for new private homes remained healthy even as sales in October dropped due to fewer units launched last month in the city fringe and mass market segments. Developers moved 928 private homes in October, down nearly 27 per cent from the 1,270 units they sold in the previous month. But new home sales rose markedly by 84.9 per cent from the 502 a year ago, with several projects launched earlier still selling briskly as these were priced more affordably than new launches.

Last month, developers launched 892 private homes for sale, down nearly 48 per cent from 1,714 units in September, but up a whopping 309 per cent from the 218 units in October last year. The above figures - which exclude executive condominium (EC) units - were released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday based on its survey of licensed housing developers.

Including ECs, which are a public-private housing hybrid, developers moved 955 units last month, marking a drop of 26.4 per cent from the 1,298 units sold in September. Ms Tricia Song, head of research for Singapore at Colliers International, saw prices rising by 2 per cent this year.

"Prices will likely be kept in check by the economic slowdown and an ample launch pipeline. "There are also 4,653 private homes (excluding ECs) that have been launched but are still unsold," she noted.

Despite the uncertain economic outlook and latest cooling measures, Singapore real estate is still seen as a safe haven for growth and wealth preservation. The prime district or core central region (CCR) accounted for 19.6 per cent of new sales, a sharp rise from 4.7 per cent in September.

CCR home sales almost tripled to 182 units last month from 60 units in September - the highest number sold in a month since March 2016 (209 units), fuelled by new launches Neu at Novena, Midtown Bay and Royalgreen, said Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie. For the first 10 months of the year, 104 new home sales were done at $5 million and above - the highest tally since January to October 2011 (155 units), Ms Sun said, citing URA Realis data.

On a per square foot basis, the number of private homes that sold above $2,500 psf has also reached a 10-year high of 844 units in the first 10 months of this year. Last month, 186 units were transacted at above $2,500 psf, she said.

The proportion of new private home sales attributable to the city fringe or rest of central region, and the suburbs or outside central region were 38.3 per cent and 42.1 per cent respectively, noted Mr Ong Teck Hui, senior director of research & consultancy at JLL.

Adapted From The Straits Times, Oct 16 2019