SINGAPORE: Sales of new private homes fell by about 60.5 per cent in February following January's strong numbers, as developers held back on launches over the Chinese New Year period.
Developers sold 645 units last month compared to 1,632 units in January, excluding executive condominiums, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday (Mar 15).
Only 167 units were launched last month compared to about 2,600 in January.
The Rest of Central Region (RCR) led new home sales with 325 units sold, followed by the Outside Central Region (OCR) with 262 units and Core Central Region (CCR) with 58 units.
February's sales were also 33.9 per cent down compared to the same month last year, when 976 new private homes were sold.
"The property market turned more cautious last month as developers held back launches and the pace of sales slowed over the Chinese New Year period," said OrangeTee & Tie senior vice president of research and analytics Christine Sun.
She added that people may be wary of potential property curbs.
"Both consumers and developers took heed of the government's advice to exercise greater prudence in light of the current macroeconomic uncertainties," said Ms Sun.
"Developers and home buyers were told to be wary of the euphoria in the property market and were warned that the government may step in if the market overheats."
Another reason for the muted sales is that many of the mega projects have progressively pared down their unsold stock, said PropNex CEO Ismail Gafoor.
“We do not think that February’s sharp decline in new home sales is in any way an indication that the primary market is losing steam," he said. "But rather, it illustrates the fact that the presence of fresh launches has played an instrumental role in stimulating demand and boosting sales in the past months."
Developer's sales in February are on par with a year ago, said Huttons Asia research director Lee Sze Teck.
"Demand for homes is still healthy in the market," he said, adding that sales in March are expected to be higher with the launch of new developments The Atelier and Midtown Modern.
February's best-selling projects included The Reef at King's Dock, Normanton Park and Treasure at Tampines, said analysts.
While 45 new homes sold for more than S$3 million last month, the proportion of sales priced below S$1.5 million dipped to 48.5 per cent last month from 63.4 per cent in January, said Ms Sun.
"Some potential buyers could be putting their purchases on hold as they may be waiting for prices to fall in the event that new cooling measures were to be implemented," she added.