The pent-up buying momentum did not let up in December, as buyers continued to drive sales of new private homes to their highest level for that month in eight years.
The rush to snap up deals in what is normally the festive season lull comes amid expectations that prices will be heading up as the economy recovers from the vaccine roll-out amid the ongoing pandemic.
The market typically winds down for the holidays in December, but developer sales jumped more than 57 per cent to 1,217 units from 774 in November, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data yesterday.
This marked a 126 per cent increase from the same month in 2019 and the best for that month since 1,410 new homes were transacted in December 2012.
Developers continued to roll out new launches last month as pandemic-led travel restrictions kept buyers in town, analysts said.
Three non-landed projects hit the market – the 74-unit Phoenix Residences with median prices of $1,520 per sq ft (psf); the 640-unit Clavon at $1,637 psf; and the 660-unit Ki Residences At Brookvale at $1,766 psf.
The projects are in the suburbs or outside central region, which led with 924 units sold. The city fringes or rest of central region followed with sales of 233 units while 60 homes were moved in prime core central region (CCR).
Clavon’s popularity is due to its proximity to amenities and attractive pricing, analysts said of the project, which is in Clementi.
Existing top-sellers including Parc Clematis, Treasure at Tampines, Jadescape and Piermont Grand also helped boost last month’s sales.
The second half of last year marked a surprising turnaround in activity with pent-up demand for new private homes helping to propel the full-year total to 10,024 units, which exceeded 2019’s 9,912 transactions by about 1 per cent.
“Annual new home sales have not surpassed 10,000 units since the introduction of fresh cooling measures in July 2018, and for this to happen in 2020 – a year fraught with great uncertainties – is a… testament to the market’s strength,” said PropNex chief executive Ismail Gafoor.
Mr Ong Teck Hui, JLL’s senior director of research and consultancy, noted that it was a remarkable performance taking into account that it occurred during the worst recession that Singapore has recorded since independence.
There were an estimated 10,883 units launched for sale last year, only 4.1 per cent lower than in 2019, as developers capitalised on positive market conditions to clear unsold inventory, he added.
The URA’s figures yesterday exclude executive condominium (EC) units, a public-private housing hybrid. If these are factored in, new home sales came to 1,265 units – up nearly 54 per cent from November and 129.6 per cent ahead of December 2019.
The number of new units launched last month surged 265 per cent from a year ago, but dipped 1.9 per cent from November.
There were 23 private residential projects launched last year – 10 before the circuit breaker and 13 after, noted Huttons Asia.
“Although uncertainties remain in 2021, an expected economic recovery and the vaccination roll-out are positive factors that could augur well for the residential market,” said JLL’s Mr Ong. “Developers are likely to capitalise on positive buyer sentiments and continue the momentum of launches this year so we may see launch volume rivalling that in 2020.”
Although there are fewer large projects in the launch pipeline than last year, URA data as at the third quarter last showed that there were 5,353 private residential units unsold in launched projects, 11,660 with pre-requisites for sale that had not been launched, and 9,470 unsold uncompleted homes without pre-requisites for sale.
New private home sales this year are expected to be between 9,500 and 10,500 units, Mr Ong added.
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