Dec new private home sales fall

Sales of new private homes totalled 1,332 units last month, down 583 units from November, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said yesterday.

Inclusive of executive condominiums, or ECs, the total number of units sold amounted to 1,699 units. This is a sharp fall compared to November, when new private home sales including ECs numbered 2,092 units. But experts said the fall was seasonal in nature, given that the year-end is usually a lull period for the property market.

“December is a month where you got parents rushing around for their PSLE results and you’ve got people going off on their holidays. Developers at the same time also launch fewer units and will have advertised less in the month of December,” said Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive officer of International Property Advisor.

Together with units sold in November and October, a total of 4,313 new homes were sold in the fourth quarter of 2010. Assuming none of the units sold at the end of last monthwere returned to developers following the fourth round of property cooling measures effective from Jan 14, it will bring sales volume for the whole of 2010 to a record of 16,364 units, said Mr Li Hiaw Ho, executive director at property consultant CBRE. This would be 11.4-per-cent higher than the 14,688 new homes sold in 2009 and higher than the 14,811 new homes sold during the market peak of 2007, he noted.

The priciest unit sold last month was at the Ritz Carlton Residences in Cairnhill at $4,307 per sq ft, while Punggol EC Prive sold the most number of units at 326.

Analysts said the latest round of cooling measures should stamp out speculation, especially in the mass market segment. The measures included seller stamp duties imposed at 16, 12, 8 and 4 per cent, respectively, for homes sold in the first, second, third and fourth year from purchase, as well as the lowering of the loan-to-value ratio to 60 per cent for individuals with outstanding mortgages.

Experts projected that new home sales volume for this month should fall by about 10 per cent as a result.

“We will probably see a knee jerk reaction so I expect that January numbers and probably February numbers to be nowhere as strong as what we have seen for December,” said Mr Ku.

Source : Today – 18 Jan 2011

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