The Straits Times | 16 April 20, 2013
First-time buyers, discounts push figure to 2,793 units last month
New private home sales surged to an all-time high last month, boosted by discounts dangled by developers and first-timers entering the market.
A total of 2,793 units were sold last month, nearly four times February's number, as a string of new launches debuted strongly.
This is the highest monthly new sales volume since the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) began publishing monthly data in 2007. It narrowly beats the previous record of 2,772 in July 2009.
But analysts said the momentum may not continue into this month as the effects of a seventh round of cooling measures, which took effect in January, continue to filter through the market.
DWG senior manager Lee Sze Teck said the strong sales last month suggested strong demand from first-time buyers given that the cooling measures had curbed some investment demand.
Including executive condominiums, a hybrid of public and private housing, the number of private homes sold last month was 3,072. This is the second-highest on record, close behind the 3,142 units sold in February last year.
The 3,489 units launched for sale last month was also a record. A whopping 17 new residential projects launched last month.
Almost three-quarters of March's new sales were from new launches that month. Nearly 65 per cent were in suburban areas.
Buyers purchased units at projects near MRT stations such as D'Nest, Bartley Ridge, Urban Vista and Sennett Residence, the URA data showed. The top-seller was 912-unit D'Nest in Pasir Ris, with 699 units sold at a median price of $963 per sq ft out of 800 units launched. Property agent Regine Ang said her clients who bought units at D'Nest last month cited its attractive price and proximity to the MRT station.
Overall, 5,533 units were sold from January to March, which was about 20 per cent higher than in the fourth quarter of last year. There were 5,564 units launched.
The strong March numbers made up for February's muted sales volume of 712 new sales owing to the Chinese New Year lull.
"By keeping new supply off the market in February, developers have benefited from a strong demand rebound in March as well as the resultant positive impact on the market," said Jones Lang LaSalle research director Ong Teck Hui. "Notwithstanding the latest measures, underlying demand remains healthy."
Still, analysts said this month was unlikely to see a similar surge in new sales. Most pent-up demand would have been "satisfied by the bumper crop of new launches in March", said Colliers International research and advisory director Chia Siew Chuin.
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