Private-home sales dip in August

Private-home sales dip in August
HDB flats and private homes in the Toa Payoh.

Private-home transactions fell to their lowest for the year last month, due to the Hungry Ghost Festival - typically a period which gives both property developers and buyers the jitters.

The total number of private homes sold last month fell to 1,539 units, down by about 26 per cent from the month before.

Excluding executive condominiums - apartments generally reserved for Singapore buyers - 1,421 units were sold. This is down from the three- month high of 1,946 units, which exchanged hands in July.

Private homes in suburban areas saw the sharpest decline in sales last month, even though they remained the most popular among buyers. Some 835 units were transacted last month, compared to 1,509 units in July, according to data released yesterday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Home sales in the core central region also fell from the 253 units recorded in July to 218 units last month.

Private homes in the city fringe proved to be more popular, with the number of units sold doubling to 368 from the 181 sold in July.

Buyers snapped up 153 units at the 154-unit One Dusun Residences, which were sold at a median price of S$1,532 per sq ft (psf). Another 110 units were transacted at the 486-unit Parc Olympia, sold at about S$870 psf. The 702-unit Bartley Residences was the third-best-selling project last month, with 70 units transacted at about S$1,246 psf.

Property experts said that last month's private-home sales figures were within expectations, given that there were few sizeable new project launches, as developers tend to avoid putting up projects during this period.

Mr Mohd Ismail, chief executive of PropNex, said: "Barring any major economic crisis, demand for new private homes is expected to stay healthy, as conditions such as low mortgage and unemployment rates remain conducive for moderate growth."

Sales in the following months are likely to continue to be in the range of between 1,600 and 2,000 units, except in December, when developers may put off launches during school holidays.

Mr Li Hiaw Ho, executive director of CBRE Research, noted that prices of new private homes remained stable last month and is likely to continue to do so for the rest of the year.

"We expect more mass-market projects to be launched from this month to the end of the year. The recent announcement by the United States government of a third round of quantitative easing will inject further liquidity into our market," he said.

"Demand for new private homes is expected to stay healthy, as conditions such as low mortgage and unemployment rates remain conducive for moderate growth."

- PROPNEX CEO MOHD ISMAIL

reicow@sph.com.sg

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