In the developers’ sales survey released by the URA, new private home sales have increased 29.5% m-o-m to 952 units in May from 735 units in April. However, on a y-o-y basis, sales dipped 15.2%.
A total of 1,394 units were launched in May, and no executive condominiums (ECs) were sold. The strong rebound in new private home sales was attributed to the nine new launches released prior to the June school holiday, notes OrangeTee & Tie (OTT). Out of the units released, 6% of the new sales were in the Core Central Region (CCR), 51.3% in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and 42.8% in the Outside Central Region (OCR).
Including May, a total of 3,525 units have been sold in the year to date, out of 4,827 units launched, notes Desmond Sim, head of research, Southeast Asia, CBRE.
While May did not see any action in the EC segment, the upcoming Sumang Walk launch, Piermont Grand, will likely be well-received due to pent-up demand and the reputation of the developer, he adds.
The new project launches include Amber Park, Rivière, Parc Komo, The Gazania, The Hyde, Juniper Hill, The Lilium, Meyerhouse, and Olloi. For the month of May, the top-selling projects were Amber Park with 155 units sold at a median price of $2,475 psf, Parc Komo with 79 units sold at a median price of $1,497 psf, and The Woodleigh Residences with 74 units sold at a median price of $1,823 psf.
Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OTT, observed that the market was “undaunted by the cooling measures and uncertain economic outlook” and “buoyed by demand for homes above $2,000 psf”. Almost 30% of new home sales or 273 units were transacted above $2,000 psf, as seen from URA data.
OTT further notes that the number of new homes transacted at above $2,000 psf rose 661% from 36 units in February to 273 units in May this year, which is also the highest number since December 2013 (295 units).
The majority of the 273 transactions came from sales at Amber Park, The Gazania, 3 Cuscaden, Riviere, Coastline Residences, Fourth Avenue Residences, Marina One Residences, Juniper Hill and Mayfair Modern. Of the 273 transactions, 193 units were from RCR, which is a “historical high number of new homes sold above $2,000 psf for the market segment”, says OTT’s Sun.
The higher monthly sales in the RCR this year “can be attributed to attractive pricing vis-à-vis some projects and more launches in the RCR”, says Lee Sze Teck, head of research at Huttons Asia. “It provides an overall uplifting effect to the whole market as there are buyers who have the reserves to trade up to a city fringe project,” he adds.
Units at The Woodleigh Residences were relaunched at lower psf prices, while the brisk sales at Amber Park are a testament to the reputation of the developer as well as the development’s attributes, notes CBRE’s Sim. He adds that at Parc Komo, “quantum and tenure were the key selling points”, with 94.9% of the units sold at under $1.5 million. Amber Park’s “stellar take-up” of 97% while the rest of the launches registering a less than 30% take-up is a sign of a buyers’ market, says Sim. It has been observed that some launches offered more attractive incentives to agents to push sales, he adds.
Sales in the Luxury segment
Ultra-high-net-worth investors are seen to remain “upbeat”, says OTT’s Sun, as 48 new homes were sold for $3 million and above, the highest number lodged since May 2018 (56 units).
At Boulevard 88, a 5,673 sq ft unit on the 28th floor was transacted last month for $28 million ($4,936 psf), surpassing the previous record of $4,927 psf for another unit at the same project in March this year, notes Sun. However, this month saw another 28th-floor unit of 6,049 sq ft at Boulevard 88 being transacted for a record $5,125 psf, which is the sixth most expensive condo by psf sold on record since 1995, notes Sun. She adds that by price quantum, this unit was transacted at $31 million, which is the fifth most expensive condo sold on record since 1995.
This shows that there is still “a lot of liquidity in the market from the latest collective sales cycle that may continue to sustain the property sector and keep demand fairly stable in the near term”, says Sun.
In general, however, sales have come to a relative standstill, with the exception of mass market projects which are still seeing sales due to their lower quantums, notes CBRE’s Sim.
“Ultimately, it is a question of how long they can afford to maintain prices at current levels as more launches come onto the market to compete for buyers,” says Sim. “Should take-up remain at current levels, it is likely that developers might shave off some margins to launch at lower prices, especially for yet-to-be-launched projects, as well as those secured in the later stage of the en-bloc cycle.”
The property market is showing signs of strength considering the weakness in the macroeconomy. This resilience is due to strong demand for new projects and the fact that many enbloc-cers are starting to receive their payouts from the developers. Almost $10-12 billion are expected to be paid to the enbloc-cers in the 2nd half of 2019.