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Thread: August home sales dive; prices steady

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    Default August home sales dive; prices steady

    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/...97127,00.html?

    Published September 16, 2008

    August home sales dive; prices steady

    Developers put off launches while buyers wait out Hungry Ghost month

    By UMA SHANKARI


    SALES of new homes fell sharply in August as developers held back launches and buyers waited out the slow Hungry Ghost month amid global turmoil.


    Some hope: In August, mass market homes continued to fare better. At Hong Realty's Livia (above), some 32 units were sold at a median price of $659 psf while in the upmarket Ritz-Carlton Residences one unit transacted at above $3,500 psf




    The number of new homes sold fell sharply to 320, down 64.3 per cent from the 897 homes sold in July this year. The number of home sales in August 2008 was also down 81.4 per cent from the peak of 1,720 units sold in August 2007 at the height of the property boom.

    But interestingly, the number of purchases outstripped the number of units launched by developers for the first time since April. Developers launched just 194 units in August - the lowest number over the past one year. Even in February this year, when just 185 homes were sold, developers rolled out 343 new units.

    Expecting lacklustre numbers for the Hungry Ghost month, developers held back their launches, noted one property insider. 'If more projects had been launched, sales would probably have been better,' he said.

    The Hungry Ghost month, widely deemed to be an unlucky period for homebuying, fell in August this year. However, this taboo has been ignored in past years during property booms.

    Developers could also have used the month as an opportunity to hold back launches as they wait for the market sentiment to improve, said Nicholas Mak, director of research and consultancy at Knight Frank.

    But most property analysts generally agreed that August's numbers were not as bad as feared.

    'When you consider that there was a lack of launches and a lack of advertising, the sale numbers were not that bad,' said DBS Vickers' property analyst Adrian Chua. 'I was pleasantly surprised.'

    Prices also appear to be holding steady - for now.

    'Surprisingly, prices are still holding up,' said CIMB analyst Donald Chua. 'But if volumes continue to be so thin, I wouldn't be surprised if there are some price cuts.'

    Volumes continued to be low, especially in the high-end segment. In August, just three units were transacted at above $3,500 per square foot (psf) - two units from Nassim Park Residences and one from The Ritz-Carlton Residences Singapore Cairnhill. Another five units were sold for between $3,000-$3,500 psf.

    Mass market homes continued to fare better. 'Despite having no new launches in this month, the outside central region (OCR) recorded a total transaction of 89 units,' pointed out Chua Yang Liang, head of research for South-east Asia at Jones Lang LaSalle.

    At Hong Realty's Livia, for example, some 32 units were sold at a median price of $659 psf. Another 15 units were sold in Guoco- Land's The Quartz at a median price of $725 psf.

    Looking ahead, a slight increase in sales volume is anticipated for September. But market watchers should not expect a large pick-up in numbers, analysts warned. 'The stock market is still getting hammered,' noted Mr Mak. 'And it's the middle of September, but we haven't seen any major launches yet.'

    Developers' cautious sentiment can be expected to continue into next year.

    'As more bad news unfolds from the western financial institutions, we would expect developers to turn more cautious and perhaps delay launches further until clarity is improved in the first half of 2009,' said Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore.

    Echoed Li Hiaw Ho, executive director at CBRE Research: 'For the rest of the year, the mood of the market is likely to maintain the status quo as the market remains wary of a weakening in the global economic environment.'

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    Default Ghost month pulls down home sales

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Money/St...ry_279009.html

    Sep 16, 2008 Tuesday

    Ghost month pulls down home sales

    Some link low sales figure of 320 units to the financial turmoil in US

    By Fiona Chan, Property Reporter


    3. Livia


    9. Kovan Residences


    10. Nassim Park Residences

    SALES of new private homes took a big hit in August as the Hungry Ghost month - considered by some an inauspicious time for big decisions - weighed on sentiment already dragged down by global economic uncertainty.

    Property developers sold only 320 units, a third of what they sold in July and the smallest number since April, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday. This sharply reversed three months of rising home sales and stemmed partly from the absence of new launches.

    But some property consultants said sales beat their expectations as they had predicted an even poorer performance in the Hungry Ghost period. Last month was only the second month this year when units sold outpaced units launched, said DBS Vickers analyst Adrian Chua.

    Some projects proved 'noteworthy successes' in the month, including boutique condominium Urban Lofts at Rangoon Road, which sold out all 46 units, said Mr Li Hiaw Ho, executive director of CB Richard Ellis Research.

    Higher-end projects Martin No. 38, Belle Vue Residences and Reflections at Keppel Bay all sold units at above $2,000 per sq ft (psf), while luxury development Nassim Park Residences sold eight units at a median $3,349 psf - 13 per cent higher than its median price in July.

    Consultants expect sales to pick up now as more projects come on the market. Already, buyers are understood to have bought about 60 units at Concourse Skyline in Beach Road during the soft launch over the weekend, at prices ranging from $1,500 to $1,800 psf, developer Hong Fok said.

    Far East Organization is also understood to have started sales at its Silversea condo in Amber Road, with about 13 units sold since Wednesday at prices averaging $1,500 psf, sources said.

    Last month, developers put up just 194 new homes for sale, a fraction of the 1,322 units they released for sale in July and the least since monthly figures were made public last year. No new units were launched in suburban areas, possibly as buyers there are more superstitious, said Dr Chua Yang Liang, head of South-east Asia research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

    He expects sales and launches to recover this month and home prices to remain stable, as 'most developers are releasing in phases to avoid flooding the market'.

    But other consultants believe the financial turmoil in the United States continues to take its toll on home buying sentiment here and may put more pressure on home sales and prices in coming months.

    'It's convenient to blame the ghosts for the low sales in August, but I think this is more than just the Hungry Ghost effect,' said Mr Colin Tan, associate director at property consultancy Chesterton International.

    'As more bad news unfolds from the US banks and other Western financial institutions, we would expect developers to turn more cautious and delay launches further, perhaps until the situation becomes clearer in the first half of next year,' added Mr Ku Swee Yong, director of business development and marketing at Savills Singapore.

    He said last month's figures looked especially bad next to those in June and July because developers had tried to push units out before the Hungry Ghost month, boosting sales in those two months. Developers launched more than 1,000 units in June and July and sold more than 800 each month.

    'Given that there were almost no new launches last month, selling 320 units is already quite good,' said Mr Ku. He noted that monthly sales in the last 12 months have hovered at about 320 units three times - in December, January and March - dipping below that in February and April.

    But Mr Tan had a bleaker view. 'Sales cannot be zero, but at 320 homes sold I would describe the market as dead, there's no two ways about it,' he said.

    [email protected]

    WHAT'S SPOOKING MARKET?

    'It's convenient to blame the ghosts for the low sales in August, but I think this is more than just the Hungry Ghost effect.'

    Mr Colin Tan, Chesterton International associate director, who believes the financial turmoil in the US has also played a part in dipping property sales here
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Sales of new private residential homes fall by 64% in August

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...376130/1/.html

    Sales of new private residential homes fall by 64% in August

    By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 15 September 2008 2312 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Sales of new private residential homes slipped 64 per cent to 320 units in August, as compared to over 890 units sold in July. Market watchers say this is the weakest transaction volume since April 2008.

    At the peak of the property boom in August 2007, over 1,700 units of private homes were sold, and the 320 units sold in August 2008 was 81 per cent lower year-on-year.

    However, the low take-up was not unexpected as the Hungry Ghosts' Festival fell during that month - a season typically marked by sluggish demand.

    Supply was also tight, with only 194 new units launched by developers in August, mainly in the central regions.

    Head of research & consultancy at Jones Lang LaSalle, Dr Chua Yang Liang, said: "There is a latent demand out there which we estimate is between 350 to 400 units per month.

    "The number of launches are incidentally quite good in the rest of central and the core central regions as these are largely foreign-based markets, so there is a lot more transactions there."

    Industry watchers are predicting more mass market projects to be launched in the fourth quarter, with some good quality units and attractive prices expected.

    The recent reduction in development charges by the government could also rally the property sector.

    Managing director of Cushman & Wakefield, Donald Han, said: "In the next six months, we probably expect some of the land (the) government tenders to be able to record lower prices.

    "That may help developers to start creeping into the market on the basis of slight savings of land prices, (and it) may go a long way in subsidising the increase in terms of your construction cost."

    Price-wise, observers say the numbers have remained fairly stable in August. Moving forward, they project a slight downward correction in overall home prices of between 3 and 8 per cent.

    Analysts say the weakening global financial markets and inflation have cast a shadow over consumer confidence. Still, they expect the current market trend to hold, over the next few months.

    Although the credit and housing troubles in the US show no sign of bottoming out, observers say Singapore's property sector will be able to weather the storm in the near term.

    -CNA/yt

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    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/...96970,00.html?

    September 15, 2008, 3.08 pm (Singapore time)

    Market turmoil, ghosts scare S'pore home buyers


    SINGAPORE - Private home sales in Singapore slumped 81 per cent in August from a year ago, to the lowest level since March as a combination of global financial turmoil and a traditionally unlucky month spooked buyers.

    Sales of new residential projects, comprising both houses and apartments, fell to 320 units from 1,723 units sold in August last year, and sales were also down 64 per cent from the 901 units taken up in July 2008, government data showed on Monday.

    The Hungry Ghost or Seventh Lunar month, falling in August this year, is widely deemed by the Chinese as an unlucky period for homebuying, although many Singaporeans have ignored the taboo in past years during property booms. 'We can blame the ghosts partly, but I think it's more that all this bad news about global banks is creating a real sense of anxiety among homebuyers,' said Colin Tan, Singapore-based head of research for property consultancy Chesterton International.

    Singapore's financial services and export-dependent manufacturing sectors could be hit by global financial turmoil, with US investment bank Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy protection on Monday.

    Worries over Singapore's economic outlook have ended a four-year housing boom in the republic, as price growth for private homes slowed sharply in the April-June period, rising just 0.2 per cent in the quarter.

    But Mr Tan expected home prices to remain steady in the July-September quarter, as developers hold out for better offers in the hope that market conditions will improve.

    Developers put up fewer new projects for sale in August, with just 194 units launched compared to 1,885 units a year ago.

    Concerns about the health of Singapore's property sector has prompted analysts to slash share price targets for developers such as CapitaLand, Keppel Land and City Developments. -- REUTERS

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