December 2022 sees 170 private new homes sold, lowest since January 2009

In December 2022, a total of 170 new homes excluding executive condominiums (ECs) were sold in Singapore, a 34.6% plunge from the 260 units sold a month earlier. On a year-on-year basis, new home sales fell 73.8%. This recorded the lowest monthly sales volume in the primary market since January 2009, when developers sold 108 new homes. Nicholas Mak, head of research & consultancy at ERA Realty Network, noted the Global Financial Crisis is a major factor that influenced this.

This also marked the third consecutive month-on-month decline in new home sales. The low sales were due to the lack of new private residential launches, with only 45 units excluding ECs launched for sale. This is the lowest figure since URA started compiling the data in June 2007, according to Lee Sze Teck, Huttons Asia’s senior director of research. Further, Mak opined the year-end holiday season could have caused market decision-makers such as buyers, sellers and brokers to travel overseas.

In contrast, EC Bukit Batok EC units saw an increase in sales with 468 units sold in December 2022, a surge from the 186 units the previous month. Thanks to the launch of Tenet, the 618-unit EC in Tampines by Qingjian Realty, Santarli Realty and Heeton Holdings, 73% or 451 of the units were sold at a median price of $1,381 psf. Following the remaining units released to second-time buyers, Tenet recorded a take-up rate of 93%.

Excluding ECs, all three regions — Core Central Region (CCR), Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR) — witnessed a decline in new residential homes sales in December 2022. The CCR saw the highest sales for the month with 89 new homes, followed by RCR (54 units) and OCR (27 units).

Foreign buyers also made purchases of 37 new homes in December 2022, comprising 22% of new home sales for the month. This is the highest monthly proportion of purchases made by foreign buyers recorded throughout the year.

For the whole of 2022, new private home sales excluding ECs recorded 7,153 units, a 45.1% year-on-year decline from 2021. According to Christine Sun, senior vice president of research & analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, this is the lowest annual new home sales since 2008. Knight Frank Singapore’s head of research, Leonard Tay noted that this figure is lower than his earlier projection of 8,000 – 9,000 units. Additionally, foreign buyers purchased 502 new homes, representing 7% of new private housing sales throughout the year.

For the coming months, CBRE’s Tricia Song believes that home buyers and developers may adopt a wait-and-see approach, given the lower economic outlook. However, new launches for the year would help to provide more options for home buyers. January saw the launch of Sceneca Residence, the 268-unit project in Tanah Merah Kechil Link. On its Jan 14 launch day, about 60% or 160 units were sold at an average price of $2,072 psf.

Looking ahead, Knight Frank’s Tay estimated up to 12,000 new private homes could be launched in 2023. Despite this, new home salesexcluding ECs and property prices may remain weak due to economic uncertainties. ERA’s Mak believes developers could sell about 9,000 to 10,000 housing units this year, provided there is no further deterioration in the economic climate.

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