Thursday, August 16, 2012

New private home sales hit 3-month high in July

Straits Times: Thu, Aug 16

NEW private home sales in Singapore rose to a three-month high last month as demand for suburban homes continued to power the market.

Last month's robust 1,943 sales marked a 42 per cent jump from 1,371 units sold in June and is the highest figure since April's 2,497 new private home sales.

Including those of executive condominiums, sales rose to 2,067 units last month, markedly higher than June's total of 1,725.

One reason for the spike was that the market took a breather in June during the school holidays.

Market experts also said reasonably priced new launches in popular areas like Tampines and Punggol, where there is pent-up demand, helped to lift overall sales.

A stable employment market and a resilient Housing Board resale market - with prices and volumes rising in the second quarter - could also have led HDB upgraders to take the plunge into the private market, they added.

South-east Asia research head Chua Yang Liang at Jones Lang LaSalle noted the two best-selling projects last month - Parc Centros in Punggol and Parc Olympia in the Upper Changi area - were in estates with strong take-up rates for previous launches.

"Their modest median launch prices... are fairly comparable to neighbouring projects and reflect local buyers' growing resistance to further price increase," he said.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said: "As long as new projects are priced below $1,000 per sq ft, you will see healthy demand."

Credo Real Estate executive director Ong Teck Hui noted that against a backdrop of high inflation, many buyers might have entered the market as prices are stable and interest rates low.

The slew of cooling measures that weeded out unwanted competition from foreigners, short-term investors and speculators may also have prompted others to acquire homes, he said.

New suburban home sales of 1,509 units last month made up almost eight in 10 of all homes sold.

City centre homes had another 253 buyers, mainly from V on Shenton, while 181 homes on the city fringe were sold.

Almost 13,900 homes were sold in the first seven months of the year. This year is on track to smash the previous record of 16,292 homes sold in 2010.

Ms Chua Chor Hoon, DTZ head of Asia-Pacific research, said new home sales are expected to stay healthy despite the economic slowdown as both mortgage rates and unemployment rates are still low.

She expects sales to come in at 20,000 to 23,000 units this year.

But Ms Chia Siew Chuin, Colliers International's research and advisory director, expects sales to slow this month to 1,300 to 1,600 units due to the traditionally inauspicious seventh month.

Potential buyer P. K. Chung, 42, said he is looking for a long- term investment home in the east. "We looked at some of the recent launches but because we wanted a three-bedroom unit, we still found them too expensive. But there is no rush since the Government is still selling a lot of land."

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)

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