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New Singapore private home sales surge to 998 in June, more than double May's volume

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Developers in Singapore sold 998 new private homes in June, 105 per cent more than May's 486, on pent-up demand and an increase in foreign buying as show galleries reopened.

DEVELOPERS in Singapore sold 998 new private homes in June, 105 per cent more than May's 486, on pent-up demand and an increase in foreign buying as show galleries reopened.

Despite the surge, buyers are choosing to remain prudent, with affordable homes making up over 90 per cent of units sold.  

The transactions in June were the highest sales for the month in seven years, while the number of foreign buyers rose to the highest in 10 months, according to Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie's head of research & consultancy.

The previous June high was in 2013 with 1,806 units. 

The 105 per cent jump in June from May was also higher than the 75.5 per cent month-on-month (m-o-m) increase seen in May, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed on Wednesday. 

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June's 998 sales were also 22 per cent higher than the 821 units transacted a year ago.

Typically, June is slow because it's the month-long mid-year school break when families vacation overseas but this year was the first time that people could not travel due to Covid-19 restrictions. The usual mid-year holiday period was moved to May because of the "circuit breaker", with schools reopening in June.

Last month saw 169 purchases by foreigners, made up of 120 permanent residents (PRs) and 49 non-PRs, said Ms Sun, who crunched the data. The previous high was in August 2019 with 188 foreign buyers.

The economy reopened last month in phases, with show galleries welcoming back visitors on June 19 with social-distancing measures.

The lockdown or "circuit breaker" lasted from April 7 to June 1.

On the increase in the number of foreign buyers, Ms Sun said many foreigners bought properties last month as the growing macro-economic uncertainties have driven overseas investors to seek shelter for safe-haven assets in the Republic.

"Although showflats reopened last month, we have observed more foreign buyers purchasing private homes remotely due to the border lockdowns or travel restrictions imposed in many countries. This is in stark contrast to the past where many foreigners typically buy a unit only after visiting a showflat," she said.

"Currently, many foreigners snap up homes in Singapore based on their trust in our legal system, quality of finishes, and investment potential of properties.

"We may expect more foreigners to pick up private homes in the coming months as interest rates are expected to remain low and ample liquidity is flowing into the asset markets due to the massive quantitative-easing programmes launched around the world," Ms Sun added.

Buyers remained largely prudent though, with 919 affordable homes sold out of the total 998 transactions - comprising 489 in outside central region (OCR), and 430 in rest of central region (RCR). There were 79 units in the posh core central region (CCR).

In May, sales for OCR, RCR and CCR were 256, 189, and 41 respectively.

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