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New private home sales jump 37% year-on-year in January: URA data

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Singapore developers sold 522 private homes in January 2018 - up from 431 units in December 2017 and 382 units in January 2017.

SINGAPORE developers sold 522 private homes in January, up 37 per cent from the 382 units sold a year ago and 21 per cent more than the 431 units moved in December.

In addition, developers sold 100 executive condominium (EC) units in January, identical to the previous month but a drop of 45.7 per cent year on year from 184 units in January 2017. ECs are a public-private housing hybrid.

The above figures were released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday based on its surveys of licensed housing developers.

Analysts generally termed the January sales as "healthy", especially given that no new private housing or EC projects were launched last month among projects that were still licensed.

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The 522 private homes that developers found buyers for last month is the best January sales figure since January 2014, when 572 units were sold.

Property consultants said the fear of rising prices may have motivated some of those who had been on the sidelines to commit to a purchase.

CBRE Research's head of Singapore and South East Asia, Desmond Sim, said: "With the market swarmed with reports on a recovery in terms of prices as well as a buoyant collective sale market nudging land costs up, the fear of missing out or falling on the wrong side of the price recovery has possibly nudged the undecided to make a decision.

"In addition, the market is about to enter a different interest rate environment which may be a catalyst to this decision-making process."

Cushman & Wakefield research director Christine Li said that the year-on-year fall in EC units sold last month was "due not to faltering demand but a dwindling unsold EC inventory".

As at the end of last month, there were only 296 EC units that had been launched but unsold. The next EC project launch will be the 628-unit Rivercove Residences along Anchorvale Lane in the Sengkang area.

The project's developers, Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments, are likely to launch the development in April.

In the absence of new launches - for both private residential and EC projects - last month, home buyers continued to dip into previously launched projects.

JLL's analysis of URA figures show that EL Development's Symphony Suites in Yishun was the best-selling private housing development in the primary market last month, with 65 units transacted at a median price of S$1,085 per square foot. The developers of Gem Residences in Toa Payoh moved 44 units at a S$1,508 psf median price.

Near Jalan Kayu, Sing Holdings and Wee Hur found buyers for 43 units at their Parc Botannia project at a median price of S$1,265 psf.

Keppel Land moved 42 units at Highline Residences in Kim Tian Road at S$1,962 psf median price.

At the Kingsford Waterbay project in Upper Serangoon View, 31 units were sold at S$1,424 psf median price.

In the EC segment, last month's top seller was Parc Life in Sembawang Crescent, with 25 units sold at S$824 psf median price, followed by iNz Residence in Choa Chu Kang with 20 units sold at a median price of S$839 psf.

Developers' sales figures can be expected to rise in the coming months, as they launch new projects after Chinese New Year.

Most property consultants are forecasting primary-market private home sales in the range of 11,000 to 14,000 units for the whole of 2018 - up from 10,566 units last year.

"The firm economic outlook for Singapore this year should continue to drive positive sentiment and confidence in the property market," said Tricia Song, head of research for Singapore at Colliers International.

On the supply side, ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak said there are potentially slightly more than 20 private housing projects with 12,500 units in total that could be launched this year. These projects will come up on sites acquired through either state land tenders or private-sector collective sales.

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