New private home sales rebound in May despite virus curbs.

75% rise comes even as show-flats were shut, in-person viewing of property was prohibited.

New private home sales rebounded last month from April, even as Singapore was in the second month of its Covid-19 circuit breaker.

Developers in Singapore sold 484 new private homes last month, going by sale caveats, Knight Frank Singapore said yesterday. This is 74.7 per cent more than the 277 new private homes they sold in April.

A total of 967 caveats for private homes were lodged during the circuit breaker from April 7 to June 1, said Knight Frank. Of these, 577 were new sales, while 380 were resale transactions and the remaining 10 were sub-sales. It is also noted that Q1 2020 posted the highest quarterly resale volume in eight years.

This comes even as show-flats were closed and in-person property viewing was curbed during the circuit breaker as strict safe distancing measures were in place.

Mr Leonard Tay, head of research at Knight Frank Singapore, said: “The sales volume of new homes dominated private residential transactions in May. Despite the restrictions on physical interaction, there is life yet for the real estate market.”

He said new home buyers have shown “a degree of adjustment and adaptation to the prevailing circumstances” amid the pandemic.

“It could be that many of these new home buyers who sealed the deal in May had already been to the show-flats prior to the circuit breaker, and weeks thereafter of staying at home helped in some measure towards a decision-making purchase,” he said.

“It could be that other buyers were confident enough to make a purchase with only the aid of online visuals and information.”

While new private home sales last month surged over that of April, they were still down 49 per cent from a year ago when developers sold 952 units, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data.

Overall monthly demand for both new and resold private homes was down in April and last month, compared with the first quarter of this year, which accounted for a total of 4,162 caveats – or an estimated monthly average of 1,387 caveats.

Still, numbers for last month were slightly more promising than April’s. There were 643 transactions last month, up 2.6 per cent from the 627 in April.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee and Tie, noted that over 90 per cent of new homes sold last month were located in the outside central region (OCR) and the rest of central region (RCR). Soe projects are also running promotions to attract buyers. For example, Sengkang Grand Residences is having up to $40,000 discount on selected stacks until the end of June 2020.

ADAPTING TO CIRCUMSTANCES

It could be that many of these new home buyers who sealed the deal in May had already been to the show-flats prior to the circuit breaker, and weeks thereafter of staying at home helped in some measure towards a decision-making purchase. It could be that other buyers were confident enough to make a purchase with only the aid of online visuals and information.

MR LEONARD TAY, head of research at Knight Frank Singapore, on possible reasons for the sales rebound.

This is a reversal from April, when new homes in the core central region accounted for more than a third of all sales.

On why sales in the mass market segment picked up last month, Ms Sun said: “Possibly some buyers decided to enter the market after reading reports that wealthy investors have been streaming into Singapore’s market lately, and the price quantum of homes in OCR and RCR are more affordable for these buyers.”

The top three best-selling projects last month were Treasures at Tampines (56 units), Parc Clematis (55 units) and The Florence Residences (54 units).

The URA is due to release its data on sales and launches of new private homes and executive condominiums next week.

As the upcoming unlaunched developments prepare their launch in Q3 and Q4, how will new home sales prices and volumes be affect their launch prices? The Ryse Residences launch date is expected to be in Q4 2020.

 

The Straits TimesĀ 

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