December 2022 sees 170 private new homes sold, lowest since January 2009

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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January 16, 2023 7:47 PM SGT
Excluding executive condominiums, The Landmark was one of the best-selling projects in December 2022, with 14 units sold at a median price of $2,590 psf (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Developers sold just 170 new homes (excluding executive condominiums or ECs) in December 2022, a 34.6% plunge from the 260 units sold a month earlier. On a y-o-y basis, new home sales fell 73.8%.
This is the lowest monthly sales volume in the primary market since January 2009, when developers sold 108 new homes, according to Nicholas Mak, head of research & consultancy at ERA Realty Network. At the time, the market was still reeling from the impact of the Global Financial Crisis.
This also marks the third consecutive m-o-m decline in new home sales. Similar to the past two months, the lacklustre sales in December 2022 were underpinned by a lack of new private residential launches, with only 45 units (excluding ECs) launched for sale — the lowest figure since URA started reporting the data in June 2007, observes Lee Sze Teck, Huttons Asia’s senior director of research.
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ERA’s Mak also attributes the low sales to the year-end seasonal lull. “Many market decision-makers such as buyers, sellers and brokers used the year-end school holiday period to travel overseas after not being able to do so for the past three years due to the pandemic,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Tricia Song, head of research, Southeast Asia, at CBRE, opines that the cooling measures rolled out on Sept 30, 2022, along with a “deteriorating economic backdrop” and rising mortgage rates, further contributed to the low sales.
In contrast, the sale of EC units saw a surge in December 2022, increasing from 186 units sold in November 2022 to 468 units last month. This follows the launch of Tenet, the 618-unit EC in Tampines by Qingjian Realty, Santarli Realty and Heeton Holdings. The EC saw strong take-up, with 451 or 73% of units sold at a median price of $1,381 psf in December 2022, making it the top-selling project for the month. On Jan 7, the joint developers announced Tenet had achieved a take-up rate of 93% (576 units) after the remaining units for sale were released to second-time buyers.
Including ECs, new home sales totalled 638 units last month, up from the 446 units sold in November 2022.
TENET SCALE MODEL - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The 618-unit Tenet saw 451 or 73% of units sold at a median price of $1,381 psf in December 2022 (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
OrangeTee & Tie’s Sun points out that the success of Tenet mirrors Copen Grand, the 639- unit EC in Tengah. Following its launch in October 2022, Copen Grand saw a strong response, selling about 75% of units in its first month, before all remaining units were sold in the subsequent month. “The good sales performance of both projects signals that demand remains strong for ECs despite the recent cooling measures and rising interest rates,” she comments.

CCR transactions top sales

Excluding ECs, all three regions — Core Central Region (CCR), Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR) — saw a decline in new private home sales in December 2022.
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In the CCR, 89 new private homes were sold, making up 52% of the monthly total and a 40% drop from the 149 units sold the month before. The top-selling project in the CCR was Leedon Green, which saw 11 units moved at a median price of $2,886 psf.
In the RCR, 54 new private homes were sold in December 2022, making up 32% of the monthly sales and a 26% m-o-m decline from the 73 units sold in November 2022. The most popular RCR projects were Riviere and The Landmark, which moved 14 units each. Units at Riviere were sold at a median price of $2,978 psf, while units at The Landmark were sold at a median price of $2,590 psf. Excluding Tenet, the two developments were also the best-performing projects for the month.
RIVIERE SCALE MODEL - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Fourteen units at Riviere were sold at a median price of $2,978 psf in December 2022 (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
Meanwhile, only 27 new private homes were sold in the OCR, declining 29% m-o-m from the 38 units sold the month prior.
Leonard Tay, Knight Frank Singapore’s head of research, highlights that this is the third consecutive month the CCR has chalked up the highest monthly volumes of new private home sales. “These steady numbers suggest that high-net-worth home buyers with private capital looking for safe investment opportunities and are not as reliant on debt financing, might be starting to purchase homes in the prime areas of the CCR,” he elaborates.
CBRE’s Song adds that the brisker sales in the CCR may be an indication that buyers see value in CCR homes as the price gap between new homes in the CCR compared to the OCR and RCR narrows, combined with a depleted stock of unsold units in the latter areas.
Sales driven by foreign buyers continued to pick up in December 2022, making up 37 transactions or 22% of new home sales, compared to 18.8% the month before. This is the highest monthly proportion of purchases made by foreign buyers throughout the year.
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New home sales total 7,153 units in 2022

With the December 2022 figures, new private home sales (excluding ECs) for the whole of 2022 tally up to 7,153 units, a 45.1% y-o-y decline from 13,027 units in 2021. According to Christine Sun, senior vice president of research & analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, this represents the lowest annual new home sales since 2008, when 4,264 units were sold. Knight Frank’s Tay notes that the full-year figure is below his earlier projection of 8,000 to 9,000 units for 2022. He attributes the y-o-y decline in new home sales to a lack of significant launches in select months, especially at the start and end of the year. “In 1Q2022, developers were hesitant to launch new projects due to the cooling measures that were announced in December 2021, while in the final quarter of the year, local home buyers embarked on revenge travel and holidays after two years of being confined by the pandemic,” he explains.
Mohan Sandrasegeran, senior analyst, research & content creation, at One Global Group, adds that excluding ECs, apart from major launches such as the 407-unit Piccadilly Grand or the 605- unit Lentor Modern, most new launches in 2022 were smaller or boutique-sized projects. Developers launched 4,528 private residential units in 2022, less than half the volume in 2021 and the lowest annual volume recorded since the data was made available by URA.
Sandrasegeran also highlights that foreign buyers bought a total of 502 new homes in 2022, representing a total of 7% of new private housing sales for the year. In comparison, foreign buyers purchased 540 new homes, or about 4% of the total, in 2021. “The Singaporean property market has still remained attractive to foreign buyers despite the higher additional buyer’s stamp duty rates for foreign buyers, which were increased from 20% to 30% in December 2021,” he comments.

New launches to support 2023 sales

In the coming months, new home sales may remain muted, views CBRE’s Song. “Home buyers and developers are likely to continue adopting a wait-and-see approach in 1Q2023 amid a gloomy economic outlook and the Chinese New Year seasonal lull.”
Nonetheless, January sales are likely to be bolstered by Sceneca Residence, the 268-unit project in Tanah Merah Kechil Link by MCC Singapore, Ekovest Development and The Place Holdings. The project, which is the first new launch of the year, saw 160 units (about 60%) sold at an average price of $2,072 psf on its Jan 14 launch day. “This strong result should dispel doubts about the strength of the market and set the tone for the upcoming launches in February and March 2023,” comments Huttons’ Lee.
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Meanwhile, Knight Frank’s Tay notes that up to 12,000 new private homes could be launched throughout this year, providing some relief to the undersupplied market and more options for home buyers. However, economic uncertainties, including rising interest rates and employee layoffs, may dampen sentiment. He expects lower private new home sales of 7,000 to 8,000 in 2023, while prices are forecast to grow by 5% to 7%.
ERA’ Mak takes a more sanguine view, opining that more buyers may be drawn back to the market given the upcoming launches, barring further deterioration in the economic climate. “Developers could sell about 9,000 to 10,000 housing units Fourteen units at Riviere were sold at a median price of $2,978 psf in December 2022 this year,” he estimates.

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