Singapore developers' Q2 sales double from Q1 but still a far cry from 2007. By Kalpana Rashiwala
Developers in Singapore sold 1,542 private homes in the second quarter, double the 762 units in the preceding quarter. This takes the total sold in the first half of the year to 2,304, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
The Q2 number was shored up by the sale of 801 private homes in June alone - a huge jump from the 453 units sold in May and, in fact, the best monthly showing since August last year, when the impact of the US sub-prime crisis struck home.
Even so, the first-half sales - these numbers do not include executive condos - amounted to just about a quarter of the volume in the same period last year.
CB Richard Ellis predicts that full-year sales volume will come in at 4,000 to 5,000 units, less than half the record 14,811 private homes that developers sold in 2007.
An analysis of URA data showed that the stock of private homes that could be launched for sale immediately but have been held back continued to mount, hitting 13,005 at end-June, up 20.5% from the preceding quarter and 68.5% higher than the 7,720 units as at the end of last year.
These units are in projects with the necessary approvals for sale - that is, they have secured sales licence and building plan approvals - and include projects under construction as well as those that have received Temporary Occupation Permit.
In addition, there were 3,379 units launched but unsold at the end of June this year - some 40.3 per higher than the end-2007 number.
"Developers probably got more projects launch-ready by end-June, encouraged by the recent response at show flats," a property consultant said.
Looking ahead, this pool of yet-to-be-launched units is expected to be dynamic. "For the next one to two quarters, we could see the stock coming down if take-up remains encouraging. In turn, the encouraging sales may also spur other developers to get projects launch-ready and that could again add to the pool of yet-to-be-launched units," she added.
URA's latest monthly survey of developers' homes sales data in June showed "no consistent pattern of a downward adjustment in prices of new launches", CBRE executive director Li Hiaw Ho said.
"The differential between the prices contracted in June and in May or April could be attributed to adjustments for floor height and orientation. However, in line with the flash estimates, we expect only a marginal upside in residential prices in the second quarter."
Developers launched 1,069 private homes in June, a jump of 125% from 476 units in May.
For the whole of the second quarter, developers launched a total of 1,820 private homes, taking the figure for first-half 2008 to around 3,200 units.
Knight Frank's analysis showed that, in June, most units were launched for sale in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) - which commanded a 57% share or 612 units.
The region also accounted for 57% of total private homes sold by developers in June. Successful project launches such as Dakota Residences and Clover By The Park helped lift RCR's share in June.
For the second quarter, RCR also made up the lion's share or 44.2% of units launched, according to Knight Frank.
The highest-priced transaction in June came to $3,653 per square foot (psf), for a unit at Nassim Park Residences, compared with $4,612 psf for a Scotts Square apartment in May. The lowest priced deal last month was $541 psf for an apartment at Sunflower Regency on Lorong 20, Geylang. In May, the lowest price of $518 psf was set by a unit at Palm Galleria in Telok Kurau.
Colliers International director (research and consultancy) Tay Huey Ying said: "As developers are increasingly forgoing aggressive pricing strategy in favour of competitive pricing strategy, cumulatively, this will result in a softening in price level for the general market."
She said developers were ramping up launches before the Hungry Ghosts Month started on Aug 1, and estimated that launch volume would cross 1,300 units for July. As new launches are expected to be priced attractively, developers' sales could possibly hit 1,000 units.
Published in Business Times (Singapore) on July 15