New home sales could hit 4,000 units in Q1

Industry players said sales of new private homes are likely to hit close to 4,000 units in the first quarter of this year.

The figure is more than double the numbers of homes sold in the fourth quarter last year, despite fresh anti-speculative measures introduced by the government in February.

New property launches such as The Altez and The Vision have pushed home sales up in the first quarter.

So far, the first two months of the year saw strong take up of 2676 units, and the sales momentum is expected to continue in March.

“It will probably be hovering at about 1,100 to 1,500, so if you add on the total, you will probably achieve something like 3,800 to 4,100, likely to be in the range of 3,900 roughly,” said Donald Han, the managing director of Cushman & Wakefield. “If you move into next quarter, chances are, we will be hovering at that level.”

Overall, market watchers said home prices rose by some two to five per cent on-quarter in the first three months this year.

According to DTZ Research, prices of non-landed luxury homes climbed 4.2 per cent on average to S$2,500 per square foot, while private apartments in prime districts rose 3.7 per cent to over S$1,450 per square foot.

DTZ Research added that landed homes in districts 9, 10 and 11 cost 5.7 per cent more.

Prices reached a new high of S$1,529 per square foot, which is a 28.2-per-cent rebound from the bottom one year ago.

Industry players said it could trend up further.

“The chance of prime moving up 5, 10, even 20 per cent within a year is very real, with the right factors underpinning it,” said Karamjit Singh, managing director of Credo Real Estate.

“The same can’t be said for mass market that is generally a more price sensitive, more scientific a market where the cue is taken from where HDB market is, affordability, interest rates, housing loans policy also.”

Meanwhile, property consultancy firm CB Richard Ellis noted the change in home buyers’ profile.

First quarter last year saw upgraders from public housing snapping up 64 per cent of new homes.

However, about 66 per cent of home buyers are private home owners this year.

CBRE said that foreigners bought 23.5 per cent of the new homes launched this year, majority of them from Indonesia, Malaysia and China.

Observers are optimistic about prospects ahead, saying factors that could derail the growth in the property market include a sharp increase in interest rates, continued weakness in the Eurozone and further cooling measures by the government.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 30 Mar 2010

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