SINGAPORE: Sales of new private homes plunged 53.8 per cent month-on-month last December, on the back of the year-end holidays and with few new units launched.
Developers sold 538 homes - excluding executive condominiums - in December, according to data complied by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
This was a sharp drop from the revised 1,165 homes sold the previous month.
On a year-on-year basis, last month's sales were down 10.6 per cent from the 602 units sold in December 2018.
Only 370 units were launched in December, the smallest monthly figure in the whole of 2019. No new projects were launched in the month.
Including executive condominiums, 551 private homes were sold, fewer than half of the 1,186 units sold in November and an 8.9 per cent decrease on the 605 units sold in December 2018.
The top-selling private residential project was Parc Botannia at Fernvale Street with 49 units sold, followed by Parc Esta at Sims Avenue with 45 homes sold.
December is a typically slow month for the housing market, with potential buyers away for the holidays.
"Many developers have held back their official launches in anticipation of a resurgence in buying interest, which usually occurs at the beginning of the year when buyers start returning after the year-end holidays," said Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie.
About 30 launches are already lined up for the first half of this year, she added, with about 50 per cent located in the Core Central Region and the rest evenly spread between the Rest of Central Region and the Outside Central Region.
Given that December is a typically quiet month, last month's sales tally was "commendable" and was still higher than in the years from 2013 to 2017, when developers sold around 230 to 431 units, said Ms Christine Li, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at Cushman & Wakefield.
People should not read too much into last month's sales decline just yet, added Colliers International Head of Research for Singapore Tricia Song.
"In our view, the number of units sold last month was not shabby given that there were no new project launches at all during the month," said Ms Song.
2019 SAW BETTER SALES PERFORMANCE OVERALL
Overall, last year saw a "better than expected" sales performance, with new sales volume expected to exceed the 8,795 transactions in 2018, said Ms Sun.
This sales performance indicates the market is "still resilient" on the back of macroeconomic challenges such as the US-China trade war, sluggish global growth outlook and geopolitical tensions in certain regions, she said.
Looking ahead, she said demand for new homes could remain robust, with 2020's new sales volume potentially hovering between 9,000 and 9,800 units.
"Buyer sentiment is expected to remain positive since most economists feel that the worst of economic storms could be over and global growth to rebound," she said.
Prices of new homes may continue to rise this year around 2 to 4 per cent, added the analyst.