SINGAPORE: New private home sales in Singapore rose by 18.9 per cent in November, reversing a decline seen in October, on the back of new project launches by developers.
Private developers sold 767 units, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), in November, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed on Tuesday (Dec 15).
This figure is 18.9 per cent higher than October's 645 units, but a 34.2 per cent drop from the same month last year when 1,165 homes were sold.
Most of the units sold last month - 447 - were in the Rest of Central Region (RCR).
The Outside Central Region (OCR) saw the sale of 236 units, while 84 homes were sold in the Core Central Region (CCR).
ECONOMIC RECOVERY OPTIMISM
Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, believes buyers are looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic to hopes of an economic recovery, with Singapore soon to enter Phase 3 of its reopening.
On Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in a televised address that Singapore will enter Phase 3 of its reopening on Dec 28. Singapore has also approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with the first shipment due to arrive by the end of December, said Mr Lee.
"More businesses and social activities are expected to resume," Ms Sun said, adding that vaccine optimism has also bolstered investor confidence.
"Mass vaccination programmes have been gearing up in many countries, including Singapore which has announced plans to roll out inoculation for healthcare workers, frontliners and vulnerable patients soon," Ms Sun added.
NEW PROJECTS, PREVIOUSLY LAUNCHED DEVELOPMENTS
Developer sales in November were also boosted by new projects as well as continued interest in developments that were previously launched.
Developers placed 1,375 new units for sale last month, more than tripling the 423 units put on the market in October.
There were two new project launches - The Linq @ Beauty World and The Landmark in Outram - in November.
Of the 120 units they each launched in November, The Linq sold 118 homes, while The Landmark moved 109 apartments. Collectively, the two projects accounted for nearly 30 per cent of total new home sales in November.
“While new launches have boosted home sale in November, it is worthy to note that projects which were previously launched also continued to sell units at a steady pace," said Ms Wong Siew Ying, head of research and content at PropNex.
"About 70 per cent of November’s sales were from projects that were already on the market.
"Buyers likely took time to evaluate prices of various developments and returned to pick up properties in projects that they felt offered them the best value for their budget," she added.
OTP NOT A DETERRENCE
November's healthy sales also indicate that some buyers in the market were not affected by the new curbs on the reissuing of option to purchase (OTP), Ms Sun noted.
Under the new rules, developers cannot reissue an OTP to the same purchaser for the same unit within 12 months after the expiry of the earlier OTP.
"The clampdown caused a knee-jerk reaction which saw a temporary pull-back in October’s sales," Ms Sun said.
In November, "well-heeled buyers were largely not affected by the new curbs on reissue of OTPs as buyers’ appetite for pricier homes remained strong", she added.
According to Propnex, new home sales have held steady this year despite the pandemic.
"A total of 8,791 private new home sales (excluding ECs) were sold in the first 11 months of the year, and it looks on track to exceed 9,700 units for the full year 2020 – just shy of the 9,912 units sold in 2019," Ismail Gafoor, CEO of Propnex, said.
"Moving forward, we are cautiously optimistic of the property market outlook and anticipate that sentiment should remain positive to the extent that COVID-19 remains under control and that the Singapore economy continues to improve.”