SINGAPORE — New private home sales in October fell 48 per cent compared to the month before, with only 487 units sold.
At the same time, supply from developers hit an eight-month low, with just 202 new units launched in October — an 83 per cent decrease from the 1,169 new units launched in September.
The latest figures by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Thursday (Nov 15) also showed that, including executive condominiums, there was a 46 per cent drop in units sold last month — from 944 units in September to 510 in October.
Despite the decrease in new private home sales, property analysts said that buying demand remains resilient among existing projects, given the absence of major launches in October. There was only one new launch, 10 Evelyn, which is a 56-unit, high-end project in the Newton Road area.
Mr Lee Sze Teck, head of research at property agency Hutton Asia, said that the slowdown in October is similar to when cooling measures were previously introduced. In those instances, the number of project launches, as well as the number of units launched and sold usually dipped three months after the measures took effect.
“This is likely to be a blip and not a reflection of buying sentiment on the ground… Buyers are finding value in earlier launched projects and committing to a buy,” he said.
In July, the Government increased the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty by 5 percentage points for individuals, and 10 percentage points for developers. It also tightened the loan-to-value limits for property hunters getting a housing loan from a bank.
Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at property agency OrangeTee, noted that many existing property launches have seen an increase in sales, or maintained their sales performance as compared with September.
For instance, Affinity at Serangoon sold 81 units last month as compared with 31 units the month before. Stirling Residences and Riverfront Residences, which were launched before the cooling measures, maintained their sales performance in October. Stirling Residences saw 75 units sold last month, compared with 89 in September, while at Riverfront Residences, 55 unites were sold compared with 56 in September.
Based on URA’s data, the proportion of new non-landed homes bought under S$1.5 million for October was at 70.1 per cent, higher than the 66.3 per cent average over the past nine months. This is an indication that “well-located projects that are attractively priced have continued to draw healthy buying interest”, Ms Sun said.
Mr Ismail Gafoor, chief executive officer of real estate agency Propnex, said that the strong demand could be due to buyers' and investors’ sentiments that the prices of future launches may not go lower, given that developers had bought the land at high bid prices.
The proportion of shoebox apartments — usually one-bedroom apartments smaller than 500sqf — sold last month went up to 14.3 per cent, compared with 8.2 per cent in September.
The increase was “anticipated”, Ms Sun said, given URA’s revised guidelines last month to reduce the number of shoebox units in future developments.
“The lower future supply of shoebox units may continue to spur buying interest in the coming months,” she added.
Property analysts generally expect sales to pick up in the last months of the year with several new launches in the pipeline, such as Parc Esta, Kent Ridge Residences and Whistler Grand. They expect total new private home sales to be between 8,000 and 10,000 units for 2018, lower than last year’s figure of 10,566.