The Straits Times | Mar 16, 2013
January's official figures on new home sales may have been strong but 5.5 per cent of buyers had a change of heart, returning the homes they signed up for even after lodging a deposit.
They returned 126 units out of the 2,272 homes sold, including executive condominiums (ECs), to developers at projects such as d'Leedon and Q Bay Residences, analysis by Square Foot Research found.
This is well up from the 2.9 per cent return rate in December.
The return rate is defined as the number of returned units as a percentage of total non-landed sales the previous month. These rates mainly stay under 6 per cent, Square Foot's data shows.
The January rate is the highest since last April when 5.7 per cent of buyers returned their homes. Both figures are, however, still lower than the 8.9 per cent in December 2011 when the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) was first introduced. Experts say the rate rise could be due to the seventh round of curbs, including tighter loan limits for investors, that took effect on Jan 12.
HSR Property Group special adviser Donald Han said a knee-jerk reaction could always be expected after each round of cooling measures.
"The return rate... is still lower than when the ABSD was first introduced so I think it's an acceptable rate considering the severity of the measures. It reflects the resilience of the property market and that confidence is still strong," he added.
Home buyers sign an option typically lasting three weeks and can back out during this period. But those choosing not to exercise their options forfeit 1.25 per cent of the price. Last month, 36 units were returned at d'Leedon, 19 at Q Bay Residences and 11 at EC project CityLife @ Tampines.
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