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The wealthy continue to pick up choice assets amid April home sales plunge in S'pore
DESPITE a plunge in sales of new homes in April, the very rich had no problem forking out money for their favourite asset amid the "circuit breaker".
There were five homes sold last month costing more than S$5 million each, the highest was a S$13.8 million unit at 15 Holland Hill.
Developers in Singapore sold 277 new private homes in April, a drop of 58 per cent from 660 in March, as buyers stayed home during the "circuit breaker", confirming a report in The Business Times on Thursday.
A total of 640 units were launched in April. The last time transactions fell below the number of units launched was in September.
The 277 units sold came in 62.4 per cent lower over April 2019's 737 units, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed on Friday.
The previous low was in December 2014 when 230 units were sold, said Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie.
The lowest sales volume since URA started releasing records in June 2007 was 108 units sold in January 2009. This coincided with the Global Financial Crisis, when sales volume remained below 200 units between October 2008 and January 2009.
Including executive condominiums or ECs, which are a private-public hybrid, there were 293 new homes sold in April, down from the 904 in March, or a dive of 67.6 per cent.
Of this number, 65.5 per cent or 192 units were transacted before the April 7 "circuit breaker" kicked in, said Ms Sun.
With the "circuit breaker" extended till June 1, sales in May are expected to do poorly as well, though consultants were encouraged by the fact that transactions continued amid the closure of showflats.
According to URA Realis data, a number of luxury projects continued to move units after the "circuit-breaker" measures were implemented, including Boulevard 88, Midtown Bay, Van Holland, Kopar at Newton, and Neu at Novena.
Two super-luxury condominiums at Boulevard 88 were sold for more than S$10 million each. Both were 7th-floor units (257 and 258 sq m) transacted on April 14 for S$10.3 million each, at S$3,711 psf and S$3,714 psf respectively. Two other luxury homes at Van Holland were sold for S$3.2 million and S$5.1 million on April 30.
April saw a higher number of expensive homes sold. Transactions in the core central region (CCR) made up 36.8 per cent, versus 6.8 per cent in March. CCR sales came to 102 units, more than double the 45 units in March. Demand was from Kopar at Newton and The M.
Kopar at Newton formed the majority of the new home sales in CCR. "The stellar sales for Kopar could be attributed to their good location and attractive pricing where the median price is about S$2,241 psf in April 2020," said Ms Sun.
"It is encouraging to see sales still going strong for luxury homes. This may indicate that despite the pandemic, Singapore remains an attractive investment destination for wealthy investors."
The highest-priced private home transacted last month was a super-luxury condominium (477 sq m) at 15 Holland Hill for S$13.8 million or S$2,692 psf on April 2. This is the third priciest new condominium unit transacted over the past 12 months, said Ms Sun. The other two higher-priced units were from Boulevard 88 that were sold in May and June 2019 for S$28 and S$31 million respectively.
Compared to January 2009 when there was no "circuit breaker", April 2020 sales are extremely good in light of the circumstances, said Lee Sze Teck, Huttons Asia director (Research).
Buyers are receptive of the virtual way of viewing a sales gallery and the "circuit breaker" has resulted in a shift in buying behaviour, he said.
"In May, we expect sales to be similar to April. There was a surge in buying in the first week of May, probably due to buyers deciding to commit after the 'circuit breaker' was extended to June 1.
"We noticed around 70 units were clocked in the first week of May. Compared to the same method of sales in April where almost 100 units were sold after the 'circuit breaker', this is a very strong set of numbers.
"This is very encouraging as it shows that demand for property is resilient and buyers are buying into the long-term fundamentals of Singapore and ignoring the short-term uncertainties," Mr Lee said.
Consultants are projecting 2020 sales to slump to as much as half of the 9,912 units sold in 2019.