RHB Investment Research Reports

Singapore Home Sales Drop on Weaker Demand, Lack of Launches

Publish date: Thu, 16 May 2024, 10:32 AM
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(May 15): Sales of new homes in Singapore fell after a brief surge, in a sign of fragile sentiment in the nation’s once-booming property market.

A total of 301 units were sold by developers in April, down from 718 the month before, according to figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority Wednesday. Sales dropped 66% from a year earlier.

The city-state’s housing market has been weighed down by high interest rates, a spate of cooling measures that have hurt foreign buying interest, and a looming supply of more than 10,000 condos and apartments that are due to enter the market later this year.

Also driving the slowdown was a significant decrease in private residential launches, with the number of units released in April down 68% from March. Developers are “trying to time their launches” to achieve optimal prices, said Nicholas Mak, chief research officer at Mogul.sg, a property portal.

Developers are banking on demand from locals, along with foreign buyers who can avoid the steepest stamp duties for non-Singaporeans because they have long-term residency or are from some exempt nationalities. Despite the slowdown, private home prices have risen for three straight quarters.

Singapore is also embarking on a leadership transition, which raises questions about whether there will more tweaks to property policy, with housing affordability a key issue as the ruling People’s Action Party gears up for a general election. Finance minister Lawrence Wong, who formerly helmed the national development ministry that manages housing policy, is set to become the city-state’s fourth premier on Wednesday.

Still, no major shifts in cooling measures are likely as authorities are unlikely to “want to take their foot off the brakes and let prices accelerate”, said Mak.

There was muted demand for some projects launched in April. A freehold project by Kheng Leong Co, the private property arm of the Wee family, Singapore’s richest banking dynasty, managed to sell just four of its 14 units up for grabs, although all went for more than S$14 million (RM48.76 million). Another private development sold just three of its 59 units in its opening weekend.

Source: TheEdge - 16 May 2024

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