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New private home sales hit record high

First-time buyers, discounts push figure to 2,793 units last month

16 April 2013: NEW private home sales surged to an all-time high last month, boosted by discounts dangled by developers and first-timers entering the market.

A total of 2,793 units were sold last month, nearly four times February’s number, as a string of new launches debuted strongly.

This is the highest monthly new sales volume since the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) began publishing monthly data in 2007. It narrowly beats the previous record of 2,772 in July 2009.

new private homes sales

But analysts said the momentum may not continue into this month as the effects of a seventh round of cooling measures, which took effect in January, continue to filter through the market.

DWG senior manager Lee Sze Teck said the strong sales from new private home last month suggested strong demand from first-time buyers given that the cooling measures had curbed some investment demand.

Including executive condominiums, a hybrid of public and private housing, the number of private homes sold last month was 3,072. This is the second-highest on record, close behind the 3,142 units sold in February last year.

The 3,489 units launched for sale last month was also a record. A whopping 17 new residential projects launched last month.

Almost three-quarters of March’s new sales were from new launches that month. Nearly 65 per cent were in suburban areas.

Buyers purchased units at projects near MRT stations such as D’Nest, Bartley Ridge, Urban Vista and Sennett Residence, the URA data showed. The top-seller was 912-unit D’Nest in Pasir Ris, with 699 units sold at a median price of $963 per sq ft out of 800 units launched. Property agent Regine Ang said her clients who bought units at D’Nest last month cited its attractive price and proximity to the MRT station.

Overall, 5,533 units of new private homes were sold from January to March, which was about 20 per cent higher than in the fourth quarter of last year. There were 5,564 units launched.

The strong March numbers made up for February’s muted sales volume of 712 new sales owing to the Chinese New Year lull.

“By keeping new supply off the market in February, developers have benefited from a strong demand rebound in March as well as the resultant positive impact on the market,” said Jones Lang LaSalle research director Ong Teck Hui. “Notwithstanding the latest measures, underlying demand remains healthy.”

Still, analysts said this month was unlikely to see a similar surge in new sales. Most pent-up demand would have been “satisfied by the bumper crop of new launches in March”, said Colliers International research and advisory director Chia Siew Chuin.

Record home rentals likely this year

THE number of residential leases looks likely to hit a record this year, although vacant units are piling up due to more projects being completed over the past 12 months.

The number of leases could reach 48,000, which would break the record of 45,062 transactions set last year, said property consultancy Savills yesterday.

It pointed to the 42,139 leases signed in the 10 months to the end of October and added that November and December have historically averaged 3,000 deals a month.

The total value of all leasing transactions could exceed the record $218 million set last year, Savills said. It had reached $208 million by Oct 31.

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This is partly because median monthly rentals for condo units and apartments, excluding those in executive condominiums, reached a new high of $3.75 psf across the island in October.

This is 7 per cent higher than in the same period a year ago and 0.5 per cent higher than the level recorded in September this year.

“Constrained rental budgets have led tenants to search for smaller homes, either singularly or sharing, driving up rents on a per sq ft basis,” said Savills research head Alan Cheong.

But belt-tightening has hit the market for luxury homes, with rents falling for the sixth straight quarter, Savills said.

Rents of high-end condo units tracked by Savills dipped 1.4 per cent to $4.88 psf per month on average, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter.

While leases are being signed at a furious rate, there are more and more empty flats around as more homes are completed.

The vacancy rate of completed private homes grew to 6.1 per cent of the 276,346 total completed units in the third quarter from 5.9 per cent of the 273,050 completed units in the previous quarter. There were 14,198 vacant condo units and 2,679 vacant houses as at Sept 30.

The vacancy rate increased in the central, eastern and western regions in tandem with a surge in condo completions in these areas.

The big projects that were completed include the 1,129-unit Reflections at Keppel Bay, the 712-unit Caspian in Lakeside and the 646-unit Double Bay Residences in Simei.

The vacancy rate was 7.9 per cent for the central region in the third quarter, slightly higher than the region’s five-year average of 7.5 per cent.

The east’s rate rose to 4.5 per cent in the third quarter from a five-year average of 3.5 per cent.

In the west, the rate hit 4 per cent, compared with a five-year average of 3.6 per cent.

Vacancies will likely spike soon as an “avalanche of new homes” will be completed in the next two years, Savills said.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said in October that the number of new private properties in the pipeline has ballooned to more than 100,000 units at the end of the third quarter. More than 35,000 private homes alone will be ready next year and in 2014, with the rest completed after that, the URA said.

Savills expects a “steady level of leasing support” next year as firms continue to bring in expatriate employees, with 47,000 to 49,000 transactions completed.

But while mass-market homes will likely be within the limited budgets of new renters, rents for high-end private units could drop by 5 per cent to 10 per cent to below $5 psf per month next year, Savills said.

Four new sites released in November 2012

To provide developers and home-buyers with more choices for private housing, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Housing & Development Board (HDB) are releasing four sites for sale in November 2012.

The two land parcels at Jurong West Street 41 (Parcel A) and Ang Mo Kio (AMK) Avenue 2 are launched for sale today under the Confirmed List. In addition, Parcel B at Jurong West Street 41 is also made available today for application on the Reserve List. The mixed commercial and residential site at Yishun Ring Road will be launched for sale by public tender on 27 November 2012.

Together, these four sites can yield about 2,045 residential units.

Land Parcel at Ang Mo Kio Ave 2

AMK Ave 2 | SGRealist.com

This site is located in an established residential area. The land site is at the intersection of Ang Mo Kio Ave 2 and Ang Mo Kio St 13. It is well connected to Central Expressway and Seletar Expressway. The future Mayflower MRT Station at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, part of the new Thomson Line to be completed in 2021, is located nearby.

Two Land Parcels at Jurong West Street 41

These two land parcels are located within an established residential area. They are well connected to major arterial roads and expressways such as Boon Lay Way, Pan Island Expressway and Ayer Rajah Expressway. In addition, Lakeside MRT Station is located nearby.

Land Parcel at Yishun Ring Road

Situated at the junction of Yishun Ring Road and Yishun Avenue 9, the site is in the midst of an established HDB town with many upcoming new public housing developments. It is located near the Yishun MRT station and well-connected to Central Expressway and Seletar Expressway.