Private home sales remain flat in July

The private housing market remained in the doldrums in July, with sales of private homes remaining flat as developers continued to scale back new launches. Property developers sold 484 new private homes last month, up marginally from the 482 units sold in June, latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed on Friday (Aug 15).

Including executive condominiums (ECs), 535 new units were sold in July, up from 531 units the previous month. The lacklustre sales came as developers launched just 434 new units, slightly more than the 418 units launched in June. In May, 1,488 new private homes were sold as developers launched 1,819 units.

Mr Donald Han, managing director of Chestertons, said: “There has been general weakness in the market, but at the same time, there have not been popular launches of mass market projects. I think developers have been holding back because the response from the public was not conducive for them to launch.”

Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research Singapore, said: “The market definitely needs some kick-start or maybe removal of measures”.

Most of the units sold in July were at the city fringe. New launch City Gate, located at Beach Road, was the top performer this month, selling 89 out of the 150 units launched, with a median price of S$1,809 per square foot. Analysts attributed this to its location and price.

Mr Sim said: “It was marketed properly. If you price it properly, probably around S$1 million, there is still demand out there.”

Releasing its remaining units in July, The Vermont on Cairnhill came in second. It moved 37 units and some analysts noted that developers had offered a price discount of about S$200 per square foot in July, selling it at a median price of S$2,113.

“The Vermont on Cairnhill received its Temporary Occupation Period in 2013 and its developer stepped up its marketing activity last month to clear the remaining units,” said Ms Christine Li, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee. According to caveats data, earlier units were sold at a median price of S$2,313 per square foot.

“With a little bit of interior design, as well as some rental guarantees, it shows that sometimes, it is not just about reducing the price, it is about coming up with creative packaging for you to be able to move units. That helps to address concerns because buyers are concerned about pending oversupply completions, such as if they able to rent,” said Mr Han.

The other top performers were Coco Palms and The Citron Residences, which both sold 23 units each.

Analysts expect home sales to continue to be subdued in August also because it coincides with the Hungry Ghost Month, which is typically seen by some to be an inauspicious time to make home purchases. Furthermore, with loan curbs still in place, analysts added that homebuyers are likely to be selective and cautious for this half of the year.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Aug 2014

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