SINGAPORE: Sales of new private homes, excluding executive condominiums, nosedived by some 50 per cent to 1,375 units in April, according to figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday.
This compares with the 2,793 units moved in March, which was the highest monthly sales volume since June 2007.
The April figure was also lower than the 2,497 new home sales recorded in the same month a year ago.
Market watchers were not surprised by the sharp fall in April.
They had expected the decline, given the extraordinarily high base of sales seen in March, something they said was unsustainable.
Furthermore, the lack of large-scale project launches in April naturally meant fewer sales.
According to Nicholas Mak, SLP International Property’s research head, nine of the 12 new launches have less than 150 units each.
He said some of these new developments consist of a high proportion of small apartments, which do not appeal to some HDB upgraders and owner-occupiers who form the backbone of the housing demand in the current market.
However, Nizam Gafoor, PropNex Realty’s senior associate district director, said: “The April transaction is still a very heathy number. We should not correlate that to March or should not also interpret that as ‘got to do with the cooling measures’.
“March figures were exceptionally good because of the project launches. There were some good projects. As far as April is concerned, we don’t see any.
“If there are going to be any new launches in good location and they are sensitively priced to the interest of the upgraders, yeah, certainly there will be an increase in interest in that specific project, which will translate to more transactions.”
Meanwhile, existing projects such as Bartley Ridge, D-nest and Urban Vista continued to do well in April. Experts said this reflects the continued strong interest from genuine buyers.
The fall in April’s sales volumes also does not signify a sudden reaction to the government’s several rounds of property-cooling measures, said analysts.
When it comes to property cooling measures, the government has indicated that the aim is to take a soft-landing approach, which means there should not be sharp or drastic corrections to the market.
Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty Network, said: “Price increase seems to have moderated. Actually, that’s an indication that the cooling measures are actually effective in capping the rate of price increase.
“Volume is a totally different story, because at the end of the day, there is a lot of land sales and the developers have pitched for the land, they have to sell the units.”
URA data showed that developers sold 727 new private homes in the suburbs in April, down 60% from 1,814 in March. The number of new units moved in the city fringe region declined 43% to 470 units.
But the number of new private homes sold in the city area rose by 13.4% to 178 units in April.
Looking ahead, experts expect developers to launch several new projects in the next few months, which are expected to push up monthly sales volumes.
Observers expect monthly sales volumes of new private homes to hover around 1,600.