New private home sales fall to 217 units in September, lowest monthly figure this year

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Altura, the executive condominium at Bukit Batok West Avenue 8, was the best-selling project for the second month running (Picture: Qingjian Realty/Santarli Realty)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Developers sold 217 new homes (excluding executive condos or ECs) in September, falling 44.9% m-o-m from 394 units the month before, according to data released by URA on Oct 15.
“This is the lowest monthly private home sales this year, and the lowest since December 2022’s 170 units,” says Tricia Song, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at CBRE. The September figures also represent a second consecutive fall m-o-m, after August registered a 72.1% m-o-m plummet.
The lower sales are “within expectation”, says Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie. “There were no big project launches during the period, and the housing market usually quiets down during the lunar seventh month, which ended in mid-September,” she points out.
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A total of 68 new homes were launched for sale in September, down 88.5% from the 590 units launched in August. The only new project that was freshly launched in September was the 23-unit The Shorefront in Pasir Ris.
CBRE’ Song says that market headwinds have also played a role, noting that on a y-o-y basis, new home sales plunged 78% from 987 units in September 2022. “Sentiment this year has clearly deteriorated with higher interest rates, softer economic prospects and two more rounds of cooling measures since,” she says.
Chia Siew Chuin, head of residential research, research and consultancy at JLL, concurs, adding that buyers have more discerning in their choices in view of the “plethora of options” available in the market. In 3Q2023, developers sold 2,024 new homes, 4.8% lower q-o-q and 7.5% lower y-o-y. “The new home sales tally declined y-o-y despite 93.4% more new units launched in 3Q2023 compared to a year ago,” Chia observes.

ECs remain bright spot

The bright spot in September was the EC market, notes Lee Sze Teck, senior director of data analytics at Huttons Asia. Developers sold an estimated 118 EC units last month, lower than the 255 units sold in August. Most of the sales came from the 360-unit Altura on Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 which launched in August. The project moved 100 units at a median price of $1,473 psf after unsold units were opened up to second-timers in September, making it the best-selling project for the second month running.
“Demand for ECs has been very strong as price-sensitive buyers look for the next best alternative to private homes. Furthermore, buyers of ECs are given upfront remission on additional buyer’s stamp duty,” says Lee.
Excluding ECs, Pullman Residences Newton, the 340-unit freehold condo on Dunearn Road in the Core Central Region (CCR) was the top-performing project, with 21 units sold at a median price of $3,258 psf. The project, which is expected to receive its temporary occupation permit this year, is now 97% sold.
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The development underpinned sales in the CCR which accounted for 76 units or 35% of total sales in September, beating the Rest of Central Region (RCR) which made up 71 units (33%), and the Outside Central Region (OCR), which made up 70 units (32%).
CCR new home sales fell 20.8% m-o-m, with the units sold marking the lowest monthly new homes sales in the CCR since February 2021 when 58 units were sold, comments Wong Siew Ying, head of research and content at PropNex Realty. However, median prices of non-landed new private homes rose 10.5% m-o-m to $3,151 psf in September, which Wong attributes to higher prices at projects including Midtown Bay, Midtown Modern, Perfect Ten, Leedon Green and Orchard Sophia.
In the RCR, new home sales fell 33% m-o-m from the 106 units sold in August. Top-selling projects include Grand Dunman, which sold 16 units at a median price of $2,571 psf; The Reserve Residences, which moved 11 units at a median price of $2,446 psf; and The Continuum, which shifted 10 units at a median price of $2,790.
In the OCR, new home sales plunged 64% m-o-m, with project launches in August such as The Arden and Lakegarden Residences helping to lift sales during that month. The best-selling OCR project in September was Lentor Hill Residences, which saw 17 units sold at a median price of $2,231 psf.

Slight pick-up in foreigner purchases

Huttons’ Lee notes that foreigners purchased 13 new private homes in September, inching up from the 10 units recorded in August. “Although foreigners remain confident in Singapore, the level of interest is unlikely to return to the pre-cooling measures level,” he opines. That said, given the low volume of transactions, the percentage of purchases by foreigners climbed to 5.9% in September, compared to 2.7% in August.
Twelve of the homes bought by foreigners are in the CCR, including the highest-price single transaction recorded in September – the sale of a 2,164 sq ft unit at Dalvey Haus for $7 million ($3,235 psf).
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OrangeTee & Tie’s Sun notes that nine other condos were sold for at least $5 million, with the units coming from Midtown Modern, Klimt Cairnhill, Park Nova and Terra Hill.

‘Cautiously sanguine’ outlook

Lam Chern Woon, head of research and consulting at Edmund Tie, says he remains “cautiously sanguine” on the sale outlook for the rest of the year, given a line-up of launches expected in 4Q2023. “Developer sales are expected to reach between 6,500 and 7,500 units, following 7,099 units in 2022,” he predicts.
Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty Network, notes that notable projects in the pipeline include J’den in Jurong East, Hillock Green in Lentor and Watten House in Bukit Timah. “Buyers may be waiting out to consider their options when more developments are launched before making a final decision,” he comments.
Leonard Tay, head of research at Knight Frank Singapore, believes ECs will continue to be favoured among buyers purchasing for self-occupation. “Investors purchasing for capital preservation, appreciation and recurring income, both locals and foreigners, will likely remain on the sidelines until interest rates peak and stabilise,” he says.
Given the current momentum, Tay is estimating new home sales in 2023 to come in just shy of 7,000 units, under his prior projection of between 7,000 and 8,000 units.
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