Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

June 11, 2008

Further drop in new home sales and launches in April

Filed under: General,Property Deal — Propertymarketupdates @ 1:58 am

Prices also show signs of weakening as buyers adopt a more cautious stance

THE private home market continued to weaken last month, with launches of new homes falling to their lowest level in at least 10 months.

Sales volumes and median prices also dipped, according to monthly figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

HOLDING UP: Some projects such as The Lakeshore (above) still enjoyed steady sales, with 32 of its 848 units taken up last month. — PHOTO: FAR EAST ORGANIZATION

Developers launched only 271 homes last month, fewer than half the 642 units launched in March.

The number of homes sold also fell, to 274 in the month, from 322 previously. These figures exclude executive condominiums.

‘It is clear that homebuyers were in no hurry to make purchases and were taking more time to assess the market,’ said Mr Li Hiaw Ho, the executive director of CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) Research.

He attributed this trend to the continuing instability of financial markets and increasing concerns over the higher cost of living.

Perhaps as a result of the slowdown, prices have begun to show signs of strain.

An analysis by property firm Knight Frank found median prices of new homes sold last month had slid 9 per cent to $943 per sq ft (psf), from $1,035 psf in March.

One reason for the lower prices could be that most of the homes launched and sold were in cheaper mass-market developments.

Eight out of 10 homes sold in the month cost $1,000 psf or less. Only seven homes, or about 2 per cent of the total sold, fetched more than $2,000 psf.

This is a major reversal from previous months. As recently as in December, more than 70 per cent of the homes sold for the month cost more than $2,000 psf.

The strength of the mass-market segment last month was the bright spot in an otherwise dismal set of figures yesterday.

The best-selling project was a suburban development: Stadia in Yio Chu Kang Road, which sold more than 90 per cent of its 56 units within the month.

‘Latent demand remains strong, especially for the mass-market projects that are reasonably priced between $750 and $850 psf,’ said Mr Chua Yang Liang, the head of South-east Asia research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

On the other hand, only three units were launched in the prime core central region. Demand for homes in this high-end area and in the mid-tier city-fringes remained fragmented and weak, said Mr Chua.

Property consultants said they expect buying activity to remain slow in the coming months as the current gloomy sentiment persists.

But some, such as CBRE’s Mr Li, expect sales to start improving next month as developers begin stepping up launches.

Mr Ku Swee Yong, Savills Singapore’s director of business development and marketing, said buyers are starting to return to the market.

‘I dare say last month’s sales numbers will be the lowest we will see this year,’ he said.

‘Showflat crowds are still pretty good, and from now on, we should see launches picking up.’

Having some high-profile launches would give the market a boost, said Mr Nicholas Mak, the director of research and consultancy at Knight Frank.

‘Essentially, the lukewarm sentiment can be explained primarily by the lack of launches of major developments that might cause excitement.’

Source : Straits Times – 16 May 2008


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