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Thread: Oct home sales dip, but prime area defies mood of caution

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    Default Oct home sales dip, but prime area defies mood of caution

    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/...59724,00.html?

    Published November 17, 2009

    Oct home sales dip, but prime area defies mood of caution

    By KALPANA RASHIWALA


    (SINGAPORE) The number of private homes that developers launched and sold in October slowed to their lowest levels since housing sales began their revival in February, according to latest official figures. While the outcome was expected, the big question is how long it will take for home sales to rev up again.

    Buyers, especially in the price-sensitive mass-market segment, had begun to be fatigued by price increases in the third quarter - even before the government acted on Sept 14 to cool the market. Developers are also running out of mass-market projects which are launch-ready.

    'Everybody's more cautious now,' said Knight Frank chairman Tan Tiong Cheng, summing up the current mood among buyers and developers.

    DTZ executive director (consulting) Ong Choon Fah said: 'Buying is likely to continue to be slow for the rest of the year. There's not much to launch; and people are away. Activity will probably return after Chinese New Year.'

    While developers of a few projects are expected to proceed with launches soon - including Marina Bay Suites and City Developments's new condo on Thomson Road - others have decided to postpone their launches until Q1 next year or even later, when they hope there will be clearer signs confirming the recovery in the Singapore economy that will see buyers emerging from the sidelines again.

    Data released by Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday showed that developers sold 811 private homes in October, down 29 per cent from September's sales of 1,143 homes. This is the third consecutive monthly decline after home sales peaked at 2,772 units in July.

    In the first 10 months of this year, developers have sold 13,639 units. Views in the market are mixed whether developers will manage to sell another 1,172 units in the final two months of 2009 to match the record of 14,811 units in 2007.

    The 566 units developers launched in October was 60 per cent lower than in the previous month.

    The Core Central Region (CCR) - where higher-priced homes are located - fared relatively better in October than the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR).

    CCR saw a doubling in sales from 152 units in September to 311 units in October; the number of private homes launched in the region also increased 67 per cent over the same period.

    In contrast, the number of units launched as well as sold by developers fell in the other two regions. For instance, the number of homes sold in OCR fell 55.2 per cent month on month to 251 units in October. And the number of homes launched in RCR declined to just 40 units in October from 631 in September.

    Last month, a total of 250 units were sold in the $1,500 psf to $2,000 psf range, accounting for 31 per cent of total sales in October and representing a big jump from the 92 units sold in this price range in September, Colliers International research director Tay Huey Ying noted. 'This shows that as of October, filtering-up of demand from the mass-market to the high-end has not been derailed by the September cooling measures,' she added.

    CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho noted that interest in luxury projects continued in October despite the slowdown felt in the rest of the market. ' A unit at Boulevard Vue sold at $4,150 psf; a unit of Seven Palms fetched $3,429 psf in October after six units were sold in September at $3,091 to $3,353 psf. Over at Nassim Park Residences, five units were sold last month at a median price of $3,089 psf following the sales of nine units in Q3 at $2,800 to $3,450 psf,' he added.

    Jones Lang LaSalle's head of SE Asia research Chua Yang Liang said the impact of the September announcement was felt most in OCR and RCR as these markets were driven mostly by HDB upgraders who are more sentiment driven.

    October's top-selling project was Far East Organization's Cyan at Bukit Timah (81 units transacted at a median price of $1,821). Other chart toppers in CCR last month included Trilight (58 units) and Lincoln Suites (53 units) - both in the Newton area.

    In RCR, the top sellers included Suites @ Guillemard (66 units) and City Loft (40 units). Both projects featured shoebox units. In OCR, sales were contributed mainly by Hundred Trees in West Coast (52 units) and Mi Casa in Choa Chu Kang (43 units), noted Savills Singapore.

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    http://www.straitstimes.com/Money/St...ry_455311.html

    November 17, 2009 Tuesday

    Sales of new private homes down again

    Number of units launched, sold in Oct lowest since Jan; Govt's cooling measures taking effect

    By Joyce Teo


    An artist's impression of Lincoln Suites in Khiang Guan Avenue in the Newton area.

    SALES of new private homes plunged last month to just 811 units - well down on September's numbers and a clear sign that the Government's cooling measures have taken hold.

    The decline also marks the third straight monthly contraction since August.

    October's sales were down from the 1,143 units sold in September and 1,805 in August, although they were still about six times the sales done in the same month last year, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

    'Although the number of units launched and sold in October was the lowest since January, it should not be treated with alarm as it reflects that the property market is subsiding into a more sustainable level of activity,' said DTZ's head of Southeast Asia research Chua Chor Hoon.

    October's sales came close to the average monthly take-up of 845 units since June 2007, she said.

    Property experts were already expecting the slump as sales at launches started to slow down not long after the Government introduced measures to calm the market in mid-September.

    Price resistance has also set in, particularly for mass market homes, they say.

    Developers launched only 566 units last month, a far cry from the 1,413 launched in September.

    About 60 per cent of the launches were prime projects, which accounted for slightly more than one-third of the sales. There were no new major mass market launches.

    PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail believes the pent-up demand that accumulated during the financial crisis has largely been met. He noted that 66 per cent of the units sold last month were mid-range homes that went for between $1,000 psf and $1,999 psf - a result of developers selling smaller units at higher prices per square foot.

    One of last month's best sellers was Far East Organization's 278-unit Cyan in Bukit Timah Road. It launched 90 units and sold 81 at a median price of $1,821 per sq ft.

    Last month's figure brings sales so far this year to 13,639 units, just 8 per cent short of the record 14,811 units sold in 2007. Total sales of new homes will likely surpass the 2007 total, experts say.

    Jones Lang LaSalle said the Government's measures to curb speculative behaviour seem to have taken effect, going by sub-sales, which fell to 7.9 per cent of total sales last month from the 12 per cent recorded in September.

    Still, the low level of new launches last month suggests that developers were more affected by the measures than buyers, say experts.

    'While one would expect developers to capitalise on the buying trend, they were surprisingly more cautious and anticipated a bigger demand pull-back,' said Jones Lang LaSalle's head of research for South-east Asia, Dr Chua Yang Liang.

    It suggests the market could be 'closing in on its peak as developers are no longer as confident of the sustainability of the current market movement', he said.

    New home sales are expected to slow this month and next to between 600 and 700 units. Dr Chua expects sales of non- landed homes to contract by a further 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

    But if the rise in house prices continues to surge ahead of economic fundamentals, tougher anti-speculative measures could be introduced. These could include a capital gains tax, perhaps for those who flip within a two-year period of the first purchase, added Dr Chua. Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer Nicholas Mak believes the next wave of buying may come when the two integrated resorts open next year.

    Home prices, said CBRE Research executive director Li Hiaw Ho, are likely to 'hold firm at current levels', though the imminent launch of Marina Bay Suites will give a good indication of how the prime and high-end segment will perform.

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