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Thread: Private home sales stay firm

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    Default Private home sales stay firm

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking...ry_363905.html

    April 15, 2009

    Private home sales stay firm

    By Joyce Teo


    Sales of private homes are holding up.

    Property developers sold 1,220 units of new private homes in March, compared with 1,332 units in February and 108 units in January.

    February sales - boosted mainly by the strong response to two new launches Alexis and Caspian - were the highest since August 2007.

    Figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday showed that 832 new housing units were launched in March, compared with 1,072 units in February and 204 units in January.

    The best-selling project in March was the 646-unit Double Bay Residences in Simei.

    Developer UOL Group and Kheng Leong launched 320 units and sold 264 of them at a median selling price of $659 per square foot, or from just $409 psf to $898 psf.

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    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/...28560,00.html?

    Published April 16, 2009

    Developers' sales carry note of hope

    But healthiest quarterly sales in more than a year may not signal sustained recovery

    By EMILYN YAP


    (SINGAPORE) A ray of hope dispelled some gloom in the private home market yesterday when new data showed developers selling 1,220 new units in March. This brings the number sold in Q1 2009 to 2,660 - the best quarterly performance since Q3 2007.

    But could this be a false dawn? Citing weak economic fundamentals, several industry watchers believe that it is still too early to say if a nascent recovery has begun.

    According to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) figures from developer submissions, private home sales held up in March and dipped just 8 per cent below the 1,332 units sold in February. Both months' showings were markedly better than in January, when buyers took up just 108 units.

    In fact, the number of units sold in Q1 2009 has already reached around 60 per cent of that for the whole of 2008.

    'Most of the demand in the first three months of the year was from Singaporeans and permanent residents, a significant proportion of whom comprised HDB upgraders,' said CBRE Research executive director Li Hiaw Ho.

    Indeed, new launches in mass-market to mid-tier projects contributed to the bulk of sales in March. The most popular was Double Bay Residences in Simei - developers UOL Group and Kheng Leong sold 264 units at a median price of $659 psf.

    Far East Organization also sold 101 units at its Mi Casa condominium in Choa Chu Kang at a median price of $617 psf, while 90 units at City Developments' The Arte fetched a median price of $874 psf.

    There is 'strong demand for lower-range properties in the outer areas that are priced below $1,000 psf,' observed PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail.

    The mass-market and mid-tier sectors also dominated recent launches. DTZ senior director of research Chua Chor Hoon noted that 95 per cent of all launches in Q1 09 were outside the prime districts 9, 10 and 11. Developers brought out 832 new units in March, down 22 per cent from the 1,072 in February.

    In contrast, activity in the Core Central Region continued to lag behind in March. Reception to The Mercury at Shanghai Road was the strongest, with buyers taking up 62 units at a median price of $1,148 psf.

    The retreat of foreigners from the luxury property market could be one reason for the weak performance, said Knight Frank's director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak. 'Preliminary figures suggest that the percentage of foreign transactions stood at 16.8 per cent in Q1 2009, settling at levels observed in Q2 2003 when the Sars outbreak badly affected the market.'

    On the whole, most observers BT spoke to believe that the property market still faces downside risks - the coming months may see prices stay flat or fall and the number of units sold may decrease.

    'Historically, economic recovery precedes property market recovery,' said DTZ's Ms Chua. 'Right now, there is no economic fundamental to support a bottoming of the property market.'

    Just on Tuesday, the government cut its 2009 economic growth forecast again to a range of minus 6 to minus 9 per cent.

    Already, there are signs of developers lowering prices to push sales. For instance, 6 units in Kovan Residences went for $782-$865 psf in February, achieving a median price of $809 psf. By March, 56 units were sold at a median price of $705 psf, with overall prices ranging from $597-$823 psf.

    In fact, price cuts and the relatively affordable costs of smaller units could have spurred demand in the last few months, said DMG & Partners Securities analyst Brandon Lee. CIMB analyst Donald Chua also expects more price adjustments to happen at projects that have not been fully taken up.

    In terms of new units that can be sold in the next nine months, few market watchers were confident of seeing the 1,000-a-month mark being crossed often. Some estimate that the transaction volume this year may range from 6,000-8,000 units in total. This would still be an improvement on 2008, when 4,264 units were sold.

    Still, it's not smooth sailing. Even some popular projects are taking back units. URA data indicates that buyers returned 20 units at the Caspian and 10 units at the Alexis between February and March.

    URA will release more concrete data on home sales on April 24. Among other factors, its real estate statistics for Q1 2009 will take into account options on units sold that subsequently lapsed later.

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    http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime%2B...ry_364171.html

    April 16, 2009 Thursday

    Home sales remain strong

    More than 1,000 private homes sold for the second month in a row in March

    By Joyce Teo, Property Correspondent


    THE bumper private property sales recorded in February were no fluke.

    For a second straight month, home hunters defied the weakening economy to buy more than 1,000 units last month.

    Property consultants say buyers are attracted to what they regard as good buys in the moderately priced mass market.

    Still, they warn that these strong buying levels are probably not sustainable.

    Last month, property developers sold 1,220 new private homes, just shy of the 1,332 units sold in February.

    It was the first time in over a year that the market has seen two consecutive months with more than 1,000 units sold. Sales for both months were a stunning contrast to the dismal 108 in January.

    Another striking figure: First-quarter new private home sales hit 2,660 units, representing 62 per cent of all new homes sold during the whole of last year.

    February sales - boosted mainly by two new launches Alexis and Caspian - were the highest since August 2007.

    Figures compiled by the Urban Redevelopment Authority also showed 832 new housing units were launched last month, compared with 1,072 units in February and just 204 units in January.

    Most units sold last month were in the mass market, along with a few city-fringe small-format apartments at condominiums such as Domus and The Mercury.

    HDB upgraders were the hottest group of buyers. CBRE Research said that last month alone, they bought 550 to 600 units at mass market projects such as Caspian, Double Bay Residences, Kovan Residences, Livia, Mi Casa and The Quartz at median prices of $610 per sq ft (psf) to $740 psf.

    A survey of first-quarter caveats lodged for this market segment indicated an average price of $695,000, said CBRE Research executive director Li Hiaw Ho. 'This is probably a good time for HDB home owners to upgrade to private property as the price gap between private properties and HDB resale flats has narrowed.'

    Said Colliers International director for research and advisory Tay Huey Ying: 'Developers have lowered their price expectations for new launches and generally cut prices of unsold units. Buyers are biting as there is pent-up demand.'

    The top three sellers in March were Double Bay Residences, Mi Casa and The Arte. About 85 per cent of units sold last month were priced below $1,000 psf, said PropNex chief executive Mohd Ismail.

    The high-end showed some life with 70 units launched and some sales, including one Orchard Scotts unit at $2,220 psf.

    But overall, only 100 prime units were launched in the first quarter, or just 4.7 per cent of all units launched, well down from the 39.4 per cent of all units launched in the fourth quarter last year.

    Knight Frank director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said this was partly due to the retreat of foreigners from the luxury market.

    Preliminary data suggests foreign deals stood at 16.8 per cent in the first quarter - a level last seen when Sars badly hit the market in 2003, he said.

    Market analysts say it is a good start to the year, but they do not expect the strong buying to continue long-term.

    'In the short term, this rate of buying can continue provided developers lower or maintain their prices,' Chesterton Suntec International's research and consultancy head Colin Tan said of March sales.

    But in the long term, it is not sustainable, he said. 'The last time the market sold so many new units (14,811 units) was in 2007. That was when the deferred payment scheme was available. And it has since caused indigestion in the top end of the market.'

    Unless the Singapore economy and employment market improve significantly this year, only 6,000 to 7,000 new private homes are expected to be sold, said Mr Mak.

    He said healthy demand for mass market homes is likely to continue only as long as average HDB resale prices do not fall by more than 7 per cent year on year.

    'Many in the mass market segment are buying now and banking on their future earnings to service their loans as they are afraid of missing the boat,' said Mr Mak.

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    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...422499/1/.html

    Private home sales dip 8% in March following Feb's bounce

    By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 15 April 2009 1627 hrs


    SINGAPORE : Sales of private homes dipped 8 per cent in March to 1,220, compared to 1,332 in February.

    Latest data from the Urban Development Authority (URA) showed that new properties in suburban areas saw strong sales.

    Double Bay in Simei saw the biggest sales, with 264 units changing hands. Mi Casa in Choa Chu Kang came in second with 101 units sold.

    Properties located just outside the city also drew strong demand. The Arte at Thomson for example, saw 90 units changing hands at a median price of S$874 per square foot.

    Developers also placed fewer new units for sale in March - 832 compared to 1,072 in February, down 22 per cent. - CNA /ls

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