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According to figures issued by URA on June 15th, developers sold a total of 1,038 new properties in May, excluding ECs. This is a 17% increase over April’s sales of 887 new properties. For the first five months of the year, this amounts to a total of 3,181 new private house sales.
Christine Sun at OrangeTee & Tie, observes that May’s number is the highest for new private house sales since May 2022, when 1,355 new homes were sold. This is the sixth month of expansion in a row. The number of units sold in May was 1,055, up 16% from April’s 909 units (including ECs).
Two significant developments in the RCR (Rest of Central Region) helped boost sales: The Reserve Residences and The Continuum. These initiatives helped developers release 1,595 non-EC units for sale in May, up from the 798 units released in April. According to JLL’s head of residential research, research, and consulting Chia Siew Chuin, this is the greatest monthly launch since November 2021, when 1,283 units were introduced.
In May, 635 of the Reserve Residences’ 732 apartments in District 15’s Jalan Anak Bukit were sold. It was the best-selling private residential project in January, with 523 units sold at a median price of $2,461 psf. In the Thiam Siew Avenue freehold development known as The Continuum, 225 out of 816 apartments have been purchased at a median price per square foot of $2,720. The combined sales increase from these two projects in the RCR was 847 units in May, or 82% of the total developer sales for the month.
|#||Project||Location||Unit Sold||Average Price PSF|
|1||The Reserve Residences||Jalan Anak Bukit||523||$2,461|
|2||The Continuum||Thiam Siew Avenue||225||$2,720|
|3||The Landmark||Chin Swee Road||25||$2,610|
|4||The Atelier||Makeway Avenue||22||$2,685|
|5||Piccadilly Grand||Northumberland Road||18||$2,083|
|6||The Botany at Dairy Farm||Dairy Farm Walk||16||$2,125|
|7||Pullman Residences||Dunearn Road||16||$3,278|
|8||Tembusu Grand||Jalan Tembusu||15||$2,436|
|9||Leedon Green||Leedon Height||14||$2,898|
|10||Hyll On Holland||Holland Road||13||$2,914|
Top selling developments in May 2023
There were only 152 new houses sold by builders in the Core Central Region (CCR) in May, which is 15% of builders’ total new home sales and a decrease of 26.9% month-over-month. The Atelier, which sold 22 apartments at an average price of $2,685 psf, and Pullman Residences Newton sold 16 units at an average price of $3,278 psf, are two of the best-selling developments in the CCR.
Due to a dearth of fresh launches and a limited quantity of unsold stock, new house sales in the OCR reached 39 units (4% of developers’ new home sales). “Based on URA data, out of the mass market projects that have been launched for sale in the OCR, about 93% of the units (excluding EC) in these developments have already been sold – balance of limited choice units to buyers,” says Wong from PropNex. The number of OCR units sold fell by 23.5% in May compared to April.
Foreign buyers have slowed down significantly
Demand from Singaporeans was the primary driver of the new private property market in May, with 85.5% of buyers being Singaporeans and 11.1% being permanent residents (PRs). According to JLL’s head of residential research, research, and consulting Chia Siew Chuin, despite cooling measures, rising housing prices, and raised loan rates, demand from these two categories of purchasers remains healthy. She says, “Pent-up demand continues to outstrip limited supply of new private homes, but fundamental local demand for new private homes remains sound, especially for notable projects with attractive attributes and for launches in areas where this is the case.”
In contrast, purchases of brand-new single-family residences by non-citizens decreased sharply. In May, 36 non-landed private residences were acquired by non-resident aliens, accounting for 3.5% of all non-landed new private home sales, down from 8% in April. According to Wong of PropNex, this is the lowest share of international purchasers since December 2021/22.
The decline, says Edmund Tie’s director of research and consulting Lam Chern Woon, is due to the increase in the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) for non-residents from 30% to 60%. He says that the high ABSD rates for non-citizens have stopped many people in their tracks.
Executive vice president of ERA Realty Network Eugene Lim agrees. There was a noticeable drop in the number of transactions involving foreign purchasers in the CCR and RCR sector, which had previously attracted a lot of attention from overseas investors. He further says, “The overall number of units acquired by foreigners fell from 38 to 21 in CCR, and from 27 to 13 in RCR. There were just three and five international buyers total in both The Continuum and The Reserve Residences.
Huttons Asia’s senior director of research, Lee Sze Teck, predicts that the percentage of purchases made by non-locals may fall even lower in the coming months. The former ABSD rate of 30% applied to options to acquire properties that were executed on or before May 17. This changeover period occurred throughout the month of May. According to him, we won’t see the full impact of the cooling measure until June. Huttons predicts that in the future, international buyers will account for just around 1% of total new-home purchases.
Weaker June sales are expected
Wong, of PropNex, forecasts a slowdown in sales of newly constructed private residences in June due to a dearth of new launches, with activity picking up in July thanks to a number of forthcoming developments. She explains that the sales launches for Lentor Hills Residences and The Myst are scheduled for the beginning of July, while other properties including Pinetree Hill, Grand Dunman, and Lake Garden Residence may also hit the market at that time. Over 2,800 potential dwelling units are available throughout five RCR and OCR developments.
Lee of Huttons also mentions that the debut of Altura, an executive condominium in Bukit Batok, is planned for the month of July. In light of the fact that this would be the first new EC launch in Bukit Batok in 22 years, he believes demand will be high.
Knight Frank Leonard Tay, predicts that local demand would support the introduction of new private housing developments till 2023. He predicts that demand for new products will remain strong so long as their prices remain within the means of this category of consumers. He also notes that international purchasers of luxury properties are likely to maintain a cautious stance for the time being as they evaluate the effects of the new policies. Knight Frank’s annual estimate for developer sales of new homes remains unchanged at 7,000 to 8,000.