Private home sales up 19 per cent in November

The private residential market resumed its upward march last month, with sales up nearly 19 per cent month on month following a 225 per cent surge in the number of new homes launched.

The uptick in sales to 767 units, from 645 in October, followed a temporary pullback in October's sales after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) clamped down on the re-issue of options to purchase (OTPs).

These URA figures released yesterday exclude executive condominium (EC) units, which are a public-private housing hybrid. If ECs are included, 815 new private homes were sold last month, up nearly 19 per cent from October and down 31.3 per cent from a year earlier. No EC units were launched last month.

"November's healthy sales indicate that not all segments of the market were affected by the new curbs on the re-issuing of OTPs. There are many genuine buyers who can afford a private home without applying for an OTP extension," said Ms Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie's head of research and consultancy.

She said vaccine optimism has bolstered investor confidence in Singapore's economic outlook and raised hopes the pandemic may soon be under control.

Existing projects continued to see sustained interest, Ms Wong Siew Ying, head of research and content at PropNex, noted. "About 70 per cent (or 540 units) of November's sales were from projects already on the market."

For instance, Riviere, at the former Zouk site, moved more units after cutting its median price to $2,541 per sq ft (psf), from $2,932 when it was launched in May last year. About 18 per cent have hitherto been sold, noted Ms Tricia Song, head of research for Singapore at Colliers International.

The market's resilience could well spill over into this month, analysts said.

With pandemic-led travel restrictions upsetting most outbound holiday plans, this month is likely to be anything but a lull period for home sales, said PropNex chief executive Ismail Gafoor.

A total of 13 new projects are expected to hit the market in the coming months.

Despite the rebound last month, new home sales are still down 42.3 per cent from September, showing the "significant impact of the clampdown on OTP re-issuances", noted Mr Ong Teck Hui, senior director of research and consultancy at JLL.

The proportion of Housing Board upgraders continued to fall as only 46 per cent of total sales last month were priced at the median price of $1,000-$2,000 psf, compared with 72 per cent in October, Ms Song noted.