SINGAPORE – New private home sales sank to a 14-year low in December amid a sharp drop in new condominium launches, rising interest rates and buyers waiting for a slew of new projects in 2023.
Developers’ sales, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), fell 34.6 per cent to 170 in December from 260 units in the previous month, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday.
This was the lowest since January 2009, when just 108 units were sold in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Year on year, sales plunged nearly 74 per cent from 650 units in December 2021.
A mere 45 condo units were launched in December, the lowest volume since URA started releasing primary market figures in 2007. On a year-on-year basis, the number of new units launched sank 88.3 per cent from 383 units in December 2021.
With ECs included, however, December’s sales rose 43 per cent to 638 units from 446 in November. The sole new EC launch last month of 618-unit Tenet in Tampines Street 62 helped prop up overall sales.
For the whole of 2022, new home sales, excluding ECs, fell more than 45 per cent to 7,153 – the lowest tally since 2008, when 4,264 homes were sold.
This was due to fewer new project launches, two rounds of cooling measures, and rising interest rates amid a gloomier economic outlook, said analysts.
“Given the year that we have had in 2022, with a cocktail of challenges – from recession concerns to rising interest rates to high inflation – and a fresh bout of cooling measures in September, we think the new home sales upwards of 7,100 units are quite decent,” said Ms Wong Siew Ying, head of research and content at PropNex Realty.
“While December’s sales of 170 units (excluding ECs) seem relatively dismal, we think that is due to a lack of major launches during the month, as well as the depleted unsold stock, particularly in the city fringe and suburbs.”
Ms Chia Siew Chuin, head of residential research at JLL Singapore, said 2023’s outlook is “one of guarded optimism”.
“The market has been resilient but could face headwinds as housing affordability remains a concern,” she said.
Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty Network, noted that many home buyers are “keeping their powder dry or saving financial reserves for the upcoming launches this year”.
Up to 40 residential projects totalling 10,000 to 12,000 units could be launched in 2023, he added.
More launches are slated for the suburban and city fringe areas as well, which should help mitigate record low unsold new home supply, OrangeTee & Tie’s senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun noted.
Up to seven large condo projects with more than 500 units each may be launched, compared with just one in 2022. These include The Reserve Residences, Tembusu Grand, The Continuum, and Lentor Hills Residences. Also in the launch pipeline are two EC sites in Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 and the adjacent plot in Bukit Batok West Avenue 5, Ms Sun added.
This year’s first project launch over the weekend, the 268-unit Sceneca Residence in Tanah Merah, saw a robust 60 per cent of its units sold at prices averaging $2,072 per sq ft (psf). This could set the tone for upcoming launches in the first quarter, said Huttons Asia’s senior director of research Lee Sze Teck.
“Gems Ville (a 24-apartment project), the 385-unit The Botany at Dairy Farm and 270-unit Terra Hill are likely to open their show-flats during the Chinese New Year period. There has not been much supply of homes in the vicinity of these three upcoming new launches,” he said.
December’s top-selling project was Tenet EC, which did well because of its location and proximity to the upcoming Tampines North MRT station.
It was followed by two city-fringe projects: The Landmark, which sold 14 units at a median price of $2,590 psf, and Riviere at the former Zouk venue, which moved 14 units at a median price of $2,978 psf.
The prime district accounted for the biggest proportion of December’s sales, making up 52.4 per cent of total transactions, Mr Lee said. A 2,368 sq ft unit on the 35th storey of Klimt Cairnhill was snapped up by a foreigner at $10.098 million in December.
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