Private home sales to pick up in March: experts

Property developers sold 382 private homes in February 2015, down 48 percent from 739 units over the same period last year, according to media reports citing URA data.

This figure marks the lowest February sales since 2008 when only 174 units were taken up.

Property consultants said the continued weak sales came amid a slowdown in project launches during the Chinese New Year period.

Colliers International Director Chia Siew Chuin noted that only one private residential project was launched last month – Sims Urban Oasis by GuocoLand. It emerged as the top seller with 112 units sold at an average price of $1,397 psf.

Nonetheless, sales are expected to recover as developers line up launches from this month, noted consultants. In fact, Kingsford Development has already started sales at Kingsford Waterbay along Upper Serangoon View while Frasers Centrepoint is slated to officially launch North Park Residences towards the end of March. UOL’s Botanique at Bartley may soon follow suit.

Agents said pricing will be key to moving units.

“As 2014 has shown, some 70 percent of transactions are below $1.5 million due to loan restrictions and ABSD (additional buyer’s stamp duty),” stated Eugene Lim, Key Executive Officer at ERA Realty.

Looking ahead, JLL expects full-year private home sales by developers to range between 4,800 and 5,800 units. CBRE forecasts the figure to be 6,000 to 7,000 units, ERA predicts 7,500 to 8,500 units, while PropNex believes it’s more like 9,000 units.

Meanwhile, 2015 is shaping up to be a busy year for executive condominium (EC) launches with CBRE forecasting seven launches offering over 4,600 EC units. These include MCL Land’s Sol Acres project in Choa Chu Kang Grove. The 1,327-unit project is set to be the largest EC ever to be launched.

City Developments and JBE Holdings could also go head to head with two EC projects next to each other at Yishun Street 51. PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail forecasts EC sales of over 2,000 units while ERA’s Lim expects sales of between 1,000 and 2,000 units.

Although no EC project was launched in February, developers still managed to sell 65 units last month from existing ECs.

And given the upcoming launches for the rest of the year and the growing unsold stock, developers are expected to “put more effort in both marketing and timing their projects to ensure higher success rates”, said Desmond Sim, Head, CBRE Research, Singapore & South-east Asia.

Chua Yang Liang, JLL Research Head for South-east Asia and Singapore expects developers and buyers to remain cautious.

“Developers are likely to feel the pressure more to cut prices, given the state of the unsold inventory (both launched and unlaunched) at some 21,000 private homes,” he shared.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Singapore Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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