New private home sales rebound in May despite virus curbs

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Parc Clematis in Clementi, one of the best-selling projects last month, under construction in December. Developers here sold 484 new private homes in May, going by sale caveats, according to Knight Frank Singapore yesterday. That is a 74.7 per cent increase from the 277 new private homes sold in April. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

New private home sales rebounded last month from April, even as Singapore was in the second month of its Covid-19 circuit breaker.

Developers in Singapore sold 484 new private homes last month, going by sale caveats, Knight Frank Singapore said yesterday. This is 74.7 per cent more than the 277 new private homes they sold in April.

A total of 967 caveats for private homes were lodged during the circuit breaker from April 7 to June 1, said Knight Frank. Of these, 577 were new sales, while 380 were resale transactions and the remaining 10 were sub-sales.

This comes even as show-flats were closed and in-person property viewing was curbed during the circuit breaker as strict safe distancing measures were in place.

Mr Leonard Tay, head of research at Knight Frank Singapore, said: “The sales volume of new homes dominated private residential transactions in May. Despite the restrictions on physical interaction, there is life yet for the real estate market.”

He said new home buyers have shown “a degree of adjustment and adaptation to the prevailing circumstances” amid the pandemic.

“It could be that many of these new home buyers who sealed the deal in May had already been to the show-flats prior to the circuit breaker, and weeks thereafter of staying at home helped in some measure towards a decision-making purchase,” he said.

“It could be that other buyers were confident enough to make a purchase with only the aid of online visuals and information.”

While new private home sales last month surged over that of April, they were still down 49 per cent from a year ago when developers sold 952 units, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data.

Overall monthly demand for both new and resold private homes was down in April and last month, compared with the first quarter of this year, which accounted for a total of 4,162 caveats – or an estimated monthly average of 1,387 caveats.

Still, numbers for last month were slightly more promising than April’s. There were 643 transactions last month, up 2.6 per cent from the 627 in April.

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Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee and Tie, noted that over 90 per cent of new homes sold last month were located in the outside central region (OCR) and the rest of central region (RCR).

This is a reversal from April, when new homes in the core central region accounted for more than a third of all sales.

On why sales in the mass market segment picked up last month, Ms Sun said: “Possibly some buyers decided to enter the market after reading reports that wealthy investors have been streaming into Singapore’s market lately, and the price quantum of homes in OCR and RCR are more affordable for these buyers.”

The top three best-selling projects last month were Treasures at Tampines (56 units), Parc Clematis (55 units) and The Florence Residences (54 units).

The URA is due to release its data on sales and launches of new private homes and executive condominiums next week.

Updated from : The Straits Times, 11 June 2020