Singapore

Private home sales rise by 165%

Despite only one major launch last month, 1,241 units were sold, up from 468 a year ago

In another bullish sign for the local property market, the number of new private homes sold last month soared by 165 per cent from a year earlier.

Just one major project was launched over the month - Le Quest in Bukit Batok.

Analysts say buying momentum continues to pick up in the face of more aggressive bids by developers for land sites and as the level of unsold stock from earlier launches falls.

Developers sold 1,241 units last month, up from 468 a year earlier, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data released on Friday.

No executive condominiums (ECs) were launched last month, but developers moved 340 EC units, compared with 331 last year.

Still, it was well down from the 980 EC units sold in July, given red-hot sales at Yio Chu Kang's Hundred Palms Residences EC, which sold all its 531 units at its launch.

In total, 1,581 private homes and ECs were sold last month, up 98 per cent year-on-year, but down 24 per cent from 2,091 snapped up in July.

Consultancy JLL said sales of private homes may cross the 12,000 mark by year-end at the current pace ­- the most since 2014, after mortgage rules were tightened.

The improvement of primary sales in August will further reinforce sentiments that the property market is bottoming out. Dr Lee nai Jia, head of research at Edmund Tie and Company

Already, the total number of private homes sold in the first eight months is 8,391 units, surpassing the 7,972 units sold in all of last year, said Mr Ong Teck Hui, JLL's national director of research and consultancy.

"The improvement of primary sales in August will further reinforce sentiments that the property market is bottoming out," said Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of research at Edmund Tie and Company.

Developers are selling inventory of unsold units from previous launches at a much faster pace, said Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director of the ZACD Group.

Last month, there were 4,294 unsold units, compared with 9,000 a year ago.

PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor believes that buyers "fear prices may increase by more than 10 per cent next year, given the recent aggressive land bids from recent land sales".

Last month's private home sales jumped 11.7 per cent from the 1,111 homes sold in July - the second straight month when transactions exceeded 1,000.

Developers launched 774 homes, excluding ECs, last month, up 31 per cent year-on-year, and up 29 per cent from July.

The top-selling private residential project last month was Chinese developer Qingjian Realty's Le Quest. It sold 286 units at a median $1,309 per sq ft.

Le Quest, launched before the start of the seventh lunar month on Aug 22, when some buyers typically refrain from buying homes, made up close to a quarter of the sales last month, said Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research, Singapore and South East Asia.

According to the caveats, 85.3 per cent of units went to Singaporeans, said Dr Lee.

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