New private home sales slide by 44%

New private home sales slide by 44%
Above photo is executive condominiums (ECs).

Home buyers purchased just 1,087 new private units last month - the lowest figure this year - as the school holidays and festive season dampened sales.

The figure is 44 per cent lower than the 1,948 units sold in October, as the sixth round of cooling measures introduced in early October also took a toll on buying momentum and market sentiment.

Including executive condominiums (ECs), developers sold 1,266 homes, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said yesterday.

Experts say developers turned cautious and held back launches last month, as they assessed the impact of the cooling measures on demand before deciding whether to push out new projects.

Only 773 homes were launched for sale last month, well down on the average monthly launch of 1,987 units in the first 10 months of the year.

Home buyers could also have hit the brakes as the subdued global economic outlook next year affected buying sentiment.

Concerns also remain over the "fiscal cliff" in the United States and the debt crisis in Europe.

These are likely to drag down growth next year should the situation worsen, cautioned Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior manager of training, research and consultancy at Dennis Wee Group.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research at SLP International, said that some developers could be keeping their launches for next year instead, as the end of the year is a traditionally slow period owing to the holiday season.

South-east Asia research head Chua Yang Liang at Jones Lang LaSalle noted, however, that the caps in loan terms imposed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore have also begun working through the property market.

"Anecdotal evidence of developers offering discounts on their unsold units in the past month seems to indicate that the slowdown in sales is not due to just the year-end seasonality." 

But PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said that even as transaction volume dips, prices are not expected to drop drastically.

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