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Developers keep up pace in Oct with sale of 969 homes, up 7% from Sept

WITH developers keeping up their rate of sales last month, market watchers see them closing the year on a strong note, notwithstanding recent attempts by the government to douse market optimism.

Based on the latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday, developers sold some 969 new private residential homes and executive condominiums (ECs), an increase of 7 per cent from September.

This came as they launched more units - 242 homes - during the month, up from 73 homes in September. Excluding ECs, the 758 private residential units sold in October also represented a 15.4 per cent increase from September.

The data was obtained through a survey of developers by URA.

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The top-selling projects for the month were previous launches, including Sophia Hills, jointly developed by Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments, Martin Modern by GuocoLand and Qingjian Realty's EC project iNz Residence.

"Faced with a limited selection of new projects in the market, buyers continued to purchase units from previous launches," Colliers International Singapore director and head of research Tricia Song observed.

Also reflecting the improved sentiment towards high-end residential, the two top-selling private residential projects last month were both in the prime region or Core Central Region (CCR). Both in district 9, Sophia Hills moved 62 units in October at a median price of S$2,029 psf while Martin Modern moved 47 units in October at a median S$2,343 psf.

Of the two low-key project launches in October, The Navian by Roxy-Pacific Holdings in Jalan Eunos launched 24 out of 48 units and sold 12 units at a median price of S$1,543 per square foot (psf). Carpmael Thirty-Eight, developed by a private company Lim Wen Heng Construction, launched all of its 16 units but sold none.

Some 44 per cent of private homes sold by developers in October were in the suburban region or the Outside Central Region. But the CCR saw the biggest pick-up in transactions across regions - a 143 per cent surge from a month ago and a year ago - to 141 units in October.

PropNex Realty CEO Ismail Gafoor attributed this to the price factor. "Today's CCR property prices, averaging between S$2,000 psf to S$2,300 psf, are deemed very attractive because 2018 new launches in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) are predicted to hit well above S$1,700 psf, thus narrowing the price gap in these two regions," he said.

Most market watchers do not expect residential buying demand to be dampened by recent comments and moves of the government to temper market exuberance.

But Edmund Tie & Company's research head Lee Nai Jia was one who felt that buying sentiment may be slightly dampened by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong's recent caution on the market. The market may see this as a signal from the government that it may intervene if the market gets too heated, he explained.

While there may be a seasonal easing of launch and sale volume during the year-end lull period in November and December as the supply of potential new launches gets limited, the launch of the 735-unit Parc Botannia by Sing Holdings and Wee Hur last Saturday, which had already sold 230 units over the first weekend, is expected to buoy November sales figures.

Consultants are expecting a strong closure to 2017, with primary new home sales by developers for the full year reaching 11,000-12,000 units excluding ECs, or 15,000-16,000 units if ECs are included. Last year, developers moved 7,972 private homes and 3,999 ECs.