Oct private home sales fall

PHOTO: Oct private home sales fall

SINGAPORE - Private home sales in Singapore last month dropped 26 per cent from the previous month, as some developers held back launches and investors stayed on the sidelines, in the wake of fresh property cooling measures, official data showed yesterday.

Developers sold 1,948 residential units last month, excluding executive condominiums, the lowest number since June and down from 2,621 in September, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

However, last month's sales were 40 per cent higher than that a year ago due to buoyant demand in the mass market, underscoring government concerns of rising home prices in the tiny country.

Singapore home sales may fall as much as 27 per cent next year after climbing to a record this year as six rounds of housing curbs by the Government crimp demand, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

Private home sales next year may drop to 16,000 units from 22,000 units this year, said Mr David Neubronner, the head of the property brokerage's Singapore residential business.

"Like a boxer who gets punched too many times, every measure will chip away at the market," Mr Neubronner said in an interview yesterday.

"This has been a stellar year, an exceptional year. I don't think after six rounds of measures, the market can escape."

Singapore home prices climbed to a record in the third quarter, prompting Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam to say last month that the real-estate market may get "bubbly".

The Government won't allow home prices to outstrip gains in incomes, he said.

City Developments, Singapore's second- biggest developer controlled by billionaire Kwek Leng Beng, said on Wednesday that it "hopes" the Government will lift the housing curbs.

"While the outlook for the property market in the medium to long term is still positive, the group is cognizant that between 2014 and 2015, there could be some oversupply with more residential units being completed," the company said in its earnings statement.