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Volume falls in March amid an absence of major launches
New home sales slipped last month amid an absence of major launches and the global Covid-19 crisis. According to the developers’ sales survey by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, new home sales dipped 32.4 per cent month-on-month (m-o-m) from 976 units in February to 660 units in March. Despite the fall, March’s home sales are still higher than the 620 units sold in January. Including executive condominium (EC) units, developers sold 904 units, a 31.3 per cent decrease when compared to the 1,315 units sold in February this year.
Due to an absence of major launches, the number of launched units excluding EC dipped 38.0 per cent from 933 units in February to 578 units in March. There was only one mega-development (above 500 units) launched last month which was OLA, an EC project. A mid-sized project, the 378-unit Kopar at Newton, released only 8 units for sale last month. 3 smaller projects – Tedge, 77@East Coast and 19 Nassim – were also launched.
Among the three market segments, only the Core Central Region (CCR) saw lower sales last month. New sales in Rest of Central Region (RCR) rose 7.2 per cent from 263 units in February to 282 units in March while sales in the Outside Central Region (OCR) increased 10.6 per cent from 301 units to 333 units over the same period. New home sales in RCR and OCR remained resilient last month as many deals were probably near completion prior to the worsening of the Covid-19 outbreak and before stricter safe distancing measures kicked-in at the end of March. Some investors may have also bought properties to diversify their investment portfolios after the stock market rout in March.
Last month, many projects across the island registered an increase in transactions when compared to the preceding month. Some of these projects include Jadescape, Parc Esta, The Florence Residences, Riverfront Residences, Stirling Residences, The Tapestry, Mayfair Modern, The Woodleigh Residences and Daintree Residence.
For the high-end segment, the number of luxury home sales plummeted from a high of 412 units in February to 45 units last month. The steep fall in sales volume may not indicate that buying sentiment had weakened last month. The stellar sales inked in February was due to the launch of The M, which sold 380 units. Last month, no mega projects were launched in CCR.
Fewer homes were also bought by foreigners last month as stricter border controls were implemented across many countries and potential buyers were not able to visit Singapore to view the properties here. The number of non-permanent residents buying non-landed new homes dipped to 25 units last month, below the 51 units that were averagely sold over the past 12 months. Consequently, the proportion of Singaporeans buying non-landed new homes rose to a fresh high of 86.3 per cent in March 2020 since April 2009 (87.7 per cent).
The current circuit breaker measures have impacted most economic activities in Singapore. Many sectors will not be able to escape the pandemic unscathed. A temporary pullback in property sales could be expected next month as show flats are now closed and house viewings postponed as part of the circuit breaker measures. Once the situation stabilises and safe distancing measures ease, new home sales will likely pick up when show flats reopen and house viewings resume. The growing economic uncertainties around the world may also propel more investors to seek shelter for safe-haven assets here, of which private residential properties will remain attractive to investors in the long term.