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Singapore private home sales, units launched down month-on-month in December

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Developers in Singapore sold 602 private homes in December last year, about half the 1,201 units moved in November.

AMID no new launches and the year-end lull, 602 private homes were taken up in December, about half the 1,201 units sold in November.

But December's tally was about 40 per cent higher than the 431 units booked in the same month a year ago.

The figures were released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday, based on its survey of licensed housing developers. The above figures exclude executive condominium (ECs) units, which are a public-private housing hybrid.

Of the 602 units sold in December, 16 were in the core central region (CCR), 293 were in the rest of the central region (RCR) and another 293 were outside the central region (OCR).

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During the month, developers released 101 new units for sale (excluding ECs), slumping around 92 per cent from November when 1,342 units were launched. Of the 101 units released for sale, only one was in the CCR, and the remaining 100 were in OCR over at the Affinity at Serangoon.

Lee Sze Teck, Huttons Asia's head of research, said: "Despite no new launch in December, sales momentum of earlier launched projects continued even after their initial launch. This largely showed that developers have gotten their product mix and pricing spot on." The top five projects in December were Parc Esta, Whistler Grand, Riverfront Residences, Parc Colonial and Stirling Residences.

Other properties which saw double-digit sales include The Tapestry, Affinity at Serangoon, Belgravia Green and Parc Botannia.

OrangeTee & Tie's head of research and consultancy, Christine Sun, also pointed out that sales demand was relatively healthy considering that no new projects were launched last month and that December is traditionally a lull period for buying given the year-end holidays. The number of units lauched in December was the lowest number of units launched in any month last year, she said.

Including ECs, developers moved 605 units last month, down nearly 50 per cent from the previous month's 1,205 units, but 14 per cent higher than the 531 units sold in December 2017.

Noting that the underlying demand for properties remained strong last year, Mr Lee said: "Ending 2018 on a strong note will give developers confidence to push out launches in 2019. Strong crowds witnessed at showflat previews also auger well for the property market in 2019."

Ms Sun said:"The ongoing sales momentum at several new projects may indicate that the property market could be reaching equilibrium soon as prices are stabilising and more buyers are streaming back." She estimated that a bumper crop of 19,000 to 21,000 new homes from over 60 new projects could be launch-ready this year.

She added: "We anticipate that the current buying momentum will continue and the supply-led demand may see developers’ home sales reaching 10,000 to 11,000 units for 2019. Many projects are expected to be launched after Chinese New Year, including The Florence Residences and Treasure @ Tampines."

Sounding a more bearish note, executive director of ZACD Group, Nicholas Mak, reckoned that home-buying demand continues to be moderated by the market cooling measures, the risk of rising interest rates, global economic uncertainty and US-China trade tensions. "Residential developers’ sales volume in 2019 could continue to moderate to between 7,500 and 9,000 for the whole year as there is still cautious optimism and healthy underlying demand in the market," he said.

Touching on the EC market, Mr Mak noted that the demand for such housing will stay robust this year amid the limited supply of new launches.

He said: "The sales of new ECs will increase when the next EC project at Punggol is launched sometime in the second quarter of 2019." At 820 units, the project along Sumang Walk could see a very high take-up if priced reasonably, he added.