Business

Hungry Ghost period holds back sales of new private homes

Private home and executive condo transactions lacklustre last month

New private home sales were lacklustre last month with developers holding off on big new project launches as the Hungry Ghost period spanned most of September.

Developers sold just 657 units - down 47 per cent from 1,246 units in August, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority data yesterday.

It was similar in the executive condominium (EC) segment, where transactions came in at 249 last month, down 27 per cent from the 341 in August.

But total EC sales in the third quarter were estimated at 1,570 - the highest since the fourth quarter of 2012, said Mr Ong Teck Hui, JLL national director of research and consultancy.

SLUMP

The sales slump in both segments was due to the absence of large new launches last month as developers consider it inauspicious to release property during the Hungry Ghost period.

Only 73 private units were released for sale last month, the lowest since December 2014 and down 85 per cent from the same month last year.

However, sales of new private homes last month were up to 657 from 509 in September last year.

The take-up of new homes, excluding ECs, for the first nine months of the year has also been robust, jumping 62.9 per cent to 9,582 from 5,883 in the same period last year.

September's top-selling private residential project was Chinese developer Kingsford's Kingsford Waterbay in Upper Serangoon. It sold 45 units at a median price of $1,289 per sq ft.

Parc Life at Sembawang Crescent led the EC segment, selling 48 units at a median price of $795 per sq ft.

"After third-quarter private property prices registered a first-time increase in four years, more buyers are likely commit to a purchase earlier rather than wait," said Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty.

Some developers may be holding off selling remaining units in existing launches given dwindling unsold inventory and expectations of higher prices, said OrangeTee research and consultancy head, Mr Wong Xian Yang.

CapitaLand's Marine Blue and Sky Habitat, Park Place Residences by Lendlease, Qingjian Realty estate Le Quest and GuocoLand condo Martin Modern are some projects that have halted sales or are releasing units in phases, he noted.

Combined, there were 906 private homes and ECs sold last month, 43 per cent lower compared with 1,581 in August.

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