SINGAPORE: Sales of private homes by developers in Singapore rose 81.9 per cent in August from a year earlier, official data showed on Monday (Sep 16).
Data compiled by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed developers sold 1,122 units last month, compared with 617 units in the same month a year earlier.
However, sales fell from the 1,179 units sold in the previous month.
Analysts said sales momentum remained upbeat despite the inauspicious Hungry Ghost Festival and global economic uncertainties.
"Private home demand is considered strong as last month’s sales volume (excluding executive condominiums) was one of the highest numbers registered for the month of August in recent years, and is also above the monthly average sales of 805 units for the first seven months of this year," said Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee.
"August’s sales volume was almost on par with July 2019’s figure, which was the highest sales volume for this year."
SINGAPORE A SAFE HAVEN: ANALYST
Only one project - Parc Clematis - was launched last month, she noted.
Ms Sun added that rising fears over the US-China trade war and the stability of the Singapore currency could have bolstered demand for property in Singapore.
"Buying sentiment has remained largely sanguine despite the global market uncertainties and escalating trade tensions," she said.
"Rising fears of the US-China trade war morphing into a full-blown currency war may have bolstered demand for properties here, where Singapore is widely regarded as a safe haven for long-term investments."
The stability of the Singdollar, she added, is also likely to boost investors' confidence.
"The low-volatility and strength of our currency, undergirded by sound fiscal policies and a stable financial system, have boosted investors’ confidence that their property investments in Singapore will continue to hold value despite the current economic headwinds," she said.
"Property investors here are likely to preserve their wealth and enjoy a return on their investment in the long term."
Chief Executive Officer of PropNex Realty Ismail Gafoor attributed August's performance to the launch of Parc Clematis, where 316 units have been sold.
Overall sales volume for the entire year will likely exceed the 9,000 mark, said Mr Ismail, adding that private new home sales (excluding executive condominiums) for the first eight months of 2019 have effectively surpassed that of the corresponding time period last year.
“As we are moving towards the last quarter of the year, the first eight months of 2019 have reached a total of 6,488 private new home sales (excluding ECs)," he said. "This has effectively surpassed the sales volume of 6,288 units in the corresponding time period in 2018, a 3.2 per cent (year-on-year) increase."
More new launches are expected in the coming months, he added.
The private residential market has "remained resilient" in spite of local economic slowdown, said JLL's senior director of Research and Consultancy Ong Teck Hui.
"Adverse news on the 0.1 per cent GDP growth in Q2 2019 and the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s downgrading of 2019’s GDP forecast to 0 per cent to 1 per cent do not seem to have an appreciable impact on the private home market thus far," said Mr Ong.
DEMAND LIKELY TO INCREASE WITH NEW GOVERNMENT GRANTS
The Government this month announced enhanced grants and new incentives for first-timers buying HDB resale flats.
This change could result in "upgrader demand" for private homes, as owners of HDB resale flat who plan to upgrade to a new condominium find it easier and faster to offload their units, said Ms Sun.