A SLIGHTLY improved showing last month could not salvage a dismal quarter for developers.
New home sales recorded their lowest quarterly total since late 2008, reflecting the sustained impact of tighter mortgage rules.
Developers sold 1,596 private homes in the three months ended Sept 30 - the lowest quarterly figure since just 419 homes were sold in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Still, the 648 units sold last month represented a 48 per cent comeback off a low base in August, according to figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday. Including executive condominiums (ECs), 707 units were sold - a 44 per cent rise from August's figure.
"The increase in sales volumes comes after the end of the Hungry Ghost Festival, and buyers have started to come back into the market looking for deals," said an OrangeTee report.
In the first nine months of this year, developers sold about 6,030 private homes, a 52 per cent dive from the figure in the same period last year.
Sales totals this year are just a fraction of those before the total debt servicing ratio framework was imposed in June last year.
Quarterly sales averaged about 5,000 back then, or roughly three times this year's third-quarter total, said JLL national research director Ong Teck Hui. "This shows the extent to which demand has weakened in the primary market."
Developers launched 514 private homes last month, a 29 per cent rise from the 399 homes launched in August.
Demand for high-end homes remained lacklustre, as the sales volume for the core central region was unchanged from August with just 44 units sold.
The anaemic sales came despite two launches in the area last month, with none in August. The top sellers last month were two newly launched projects - the 500-unit Highline Residences in Kim Tian Road, which moved 142 units, and 186-unit Seventy St Patrick's, which sold 110 units.
The main action in the current quarter is set to be in the EC market, with the launches of Lake Life, Bellewoods and Bellewaters, said Mr Desmond Sim, head of research for CBRE Singapore and South-east Asia.
On the private home sales front, the market is anticipating the launches of Sophia Hills at Mount Sophia, Tre Residences in Geylang East and Symphony Suites in Yishun.
Consultants estimated that 8,000 to 9,000 new homes could be sold for the whole year - far lower than last year's 17,590, and the lowest since the 3,840 recorded in 2008, said PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor.
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