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December new private home sales jump 57.2% as more than 10,000 homes sold in pandemic-hit year

December new private home sales jump 57.2% as more than 10,000 homes sold in pandemic-hit year

This photograph taken on Aug 19, 2019 shows private and public housing in Singapore. (File photo: AFP/Roslan RAHMAN)

SINGAPORE: Private developers sold 1,217 new homes excluding executive condominiums in December last year, tipping new private home sales past the 10,000 mark for the whole of 2020.

The monthly figure was a 57.2 per cent jump compared to November last year, when 774 private residential units were sold, according to official data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday (Jan 15).

Sales were up 126.2 per cent compared to a year ago, making this the highest performance in the month of December in eight years. The previous record was 1,410 transactions in December 2012.

The Outside Central Region (OCR) led new home sales, with 924 units sold, while the Core Central Region (CCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR) saw 60 and 233 units sold respectively.

Including executive condominiums, a total of 1,265 units were sold in December 2020, up 53.9 per cent from the previous month.

READ: Singapore private home prices increase by 2.1% in fourth quarter

UNUSUAL HOLIDAY SEASON

"Unique dynamics" contributed to the high sales in December, which is usually one of the slowest months for the property market, said Ms Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie senior vice president of research and analytics.

"As Singaporeans have been advised to defer all travel until the global situation is under control, more locals have visited showflats during the holiday season, which may have helped developers sell more homes last month," said Ms Sun.

"Further, those who have been sitting on the sidelines are entering the market now as prices of homes are expected to appreciate further this year in tandem with a post-pandemic economic recovery."

Buyers appeared to be snapping up homes ahead of the start of Phase 3 of Singapore's reopening on Dec 28 - a move that could reflect economic stabilisation and opportunities for longer-term price appreciation, said property analyst Mr Ong Kah Seng.

"Analysing December's sales transactions, it appears that larger units are increasingly finding favour with buyers, likely due to more widespread work-from-home arrangements which made many people rethink their space needs," said Ms Wong Siew Ying, PropNex head of research and content.

READ: When Singapore homes become workspaces – huge changes in the house and beyond

New home sales last month were mainly driven by the launches of Clavon and Ki Residences, both located in Clementi. Parc Clematis, Treasure at Tampines, Jadescape and Piermont Grand also saw high sales.

Supply of new homes may start declining this year as many projects have been consistently selling units throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said Ms Sun.

"The number of planned launches may decrease this year as many mega projects have been launched over the past three years. New land supply in the suburban and city-fringe areas has dipped very low since the end of the last collective sales cycle," she added.

With demand still high, these developments may keep home prices "firm and even rising" in some popular areas where new supply is limited, said Ms Sun.

READ: Possible revival of en bloc market in 2021 as developers look to replenish land banks - Analysts

MORE THAN 10,000 NEW PRIVATE HOMES SOLD

Pent-up demand propelled new home sales to hit 10,024 last year, higher than the 9,912 units sold in 2019.

The last time developers' sales breached the 10,000 mark was in 2017, according to PropNex.

"It has been quite an extraordinary year for the private new home sales market, which we believe has fully demonstrated its resilience amid the ongoing pandemic," said Propnex CEO Mr Ismail Gafoor.

READ: Commentary –  Why Singapore's private residential market will remain attractive in the long term

"Annual new home sales have not surpassed 10,000 units after the introduction of fresh cooling measures in July 2018, and for this to happen in 2020 - a year fraught with great uncertainties - is a highly credible performance and a testament to the market's strength."

The figure was "beyond any conventional expectations" during the circuit breaker from April to May last year and economic uncertainty, said Mr Leonard Tay, Knight Frank Singapore head of research.

Singaporeans accounted for nearly 87 per cent of new private home sales transactions last month, and demand from local buyers is expected to remain resilient this year, said PropNex's Ms Wong.

This is likely to be driven by residents in public housing upgrading to private homes, with an estimated 25,530 Housing and Development Board flats reaching their minimum occupation period this year, she added.

Source: CNA/dv(ac)

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