Private home sales in Singapore reached a record high of 2,487 units (excluding executive condos) in April, up 3.9 per cent from the preceding month’s 2,393 units and 37.8 per cent from 1,805 units sold in April last year.
These numbers are highest since July 2009 in which 2,772 units were sold. New home sales jumped 3 times in January 2012 compared to December 2011 and since then they are increasing by every passing month.
Including ECs, which are a public-private housing hybrid, developers sold 2,660 homes in April, down 12.3 per cent from the preceding month’s 3,032-unit sales but up 38.7 per cent year-on-year.
The figures, released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday, are based on developers’ monthly sales data submissions.
“It is clearly the HDB upgraders who are entering the private property market; these are genuine buyers with mid to long-term perspectives sustaining the market in the first quarter of 2012. This trend of buying is not dampened by the latest round of cooling measures although it had effectively stamped out short-term speculation in the private property resale market,” said Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty.
The month of April saw some launches like Katong Regency which sold a total of 244 units at S$1,709 psf (per square foot) while Ripple Bay sold 174 units at S$876 psf, and The Hillsta sold 154 units at $1,054 psf and Palm Isles sold 153 units at S$871 psf.
“Home buyers are developing an interest in the mixed-used development like Katong Regency and thus that development was a top seller. The low bank borrowing interest rates and HDB upgraders’ interest had contributed and certainly helped boost the April sales figure,” added Ismail.
The high volume of sales largely fuelled by artificial low interest levels also increased expectations of a new property cooling measure round. Dr. Chua Yang Liang from Jones Lang Lasalle says “the policy to curtail excessive demand of developer sales could come into market within the next few weeks” according to Today newspaper.
These numbers came just a few days after Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan mentioned his concerns about growing number of small apartments dubbed shoeboxes. These apartments are popular among investors who live in HDB flats for the high rental incomes they generate.
The URA said 1,514 homes were sold in the suburbs or Outside Central Region (OCR), while 867 new private units were sold in the city fringes and 106 were sold in the city.
PropNex’s Ismail also noted that the high-end market seemed to be picking up momentum as the number of units sold above S$2,500 psf had doubled from March and the Core Central Region (CCR) sales had doubled too.
“Although investors had remained more cautious about the mid- and high-end markets, April saw a returning investor confidence as the high-end property market showed signs of increase,” he added.
Ismail expects the May sales figures to continue in the range of about 2,500 to 3,000 units as developers had lined up their string of new launches including executive condominiums such as Watercolours and One Canberra.