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New cooling measures fuel July surge in Singapore private home sales

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Developers in Singapore sold 1,724 private homes in July 2018, about 2.6 times the 654 units they moved in June 2018 and up 55 per cent from the 1,112 units they sold in July 2017.

DEVELOPERS in Singapore sold 1,724 private homes in July 2018, about 2.6 times the 654 units they moved in June 2018 and up 55 per cent from the 1,112 units they sold in July 2017.

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

The above figures exclude executive condominium (EC) units which are a public-private housing hybrid.

Among the top sellers last month were Park Colonial near Woodleigh MRT Station, Riverfront Residences in Hougang and Stirling Residences near Queenstown MRT Station – all released on the night of July 5, shortly after the government anounced the latest round of property cooling measures.

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Based on URA’s data for last month, 429 units were sold at Park Colonial at a median price of S$1,756 per square foot (psf). At Stirling Residences, 339 units were transacted at S$1,746 psf median price. Riverfront Residences, the top-selling project, saw 628 units sold last month at S$1,307 psf median price.

Together, the three projects accounted for 1,396 units, or just over 80 per cent of developers' sales of private homes.

The July sales figure was the highest in 16 months. 

However, ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak  pointed out that the July 2018 performance was skewed by the last-minute buying frenzy on the night of July 5  as many buyers had brought forward their planned home purchases to beat the higher additional buyer's stamp duty and lower loan-to-value limits that took effect the next day. 

Hence, the July sales spike is not expected to be repeated in subsequent months, he added.

Colliers International head of research for Singapore Tricia Song agreed: "New home sales will likely slow significantly henceforth as prospective buyers adopt a wait-and-see approach following the introduction of the fresh cooling measures. Transaction volumes in August and September could be particularly sluggish owing to the Hungry Ghost festival where some buyers may prefer to hold back purchases."

In the first seven months of this year, developers sold 5,671 private homes,  down about 21 per cent from the 7,151 units in the same period last year.

ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim expects developers to move 8,000 to 9,000 private homes for the whole of this year - down from the 10,566 units for the whole of 2017.

Including ECs, developers moved 1,776 units in July 2018, 2.5 times the 706 units in the previous month, but 15.1 per cent lower than the 2,092 units they moved in July last year.

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