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Private home sales plunge in Hungry Ghost month

SINGAPORE — New private home sales sank to a six-month low last month, as buyers stayed on the sidelines during the Hungry Ghost Festival and developers refrained from launching new projects during a time considered by many as inauspicious.

Private home sales plunge in Hungry Ghost month

Housing costs fell by 6 per cent last month as the cost
of maintenance and repairs declined sharply. Photo: Reuters

SINGAPORE — New private home sales sank to a six-month low last month, as buyers stayed on the sidelines during the Hungry Ghost Festival and developers refrained from launching new projects during a time considered by many as inauspicious.

Developers sold 473 new private homes in August, down 56.6 per cent from July and 7.8 per cent from the same month last year, showed Urban Redevelopment Authority data on Thursday (Sept 15). It was also the lowest volume since February this year, when 303 units changed hands.

“There are two broad reasons for the subdued buying sentiment. Firstly, it coincided with the Hungry Ghost Month, which is typically seen by many to be an inauspicious time to make home purchases. Secondly, there was a lack of mass market launches with developers holding back their launches to a later date,” said PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor.

There is also an inertia among buyers to commit as they anticipate further price declines with the property cooling measures remaining in place, he added.

In terms of geography, the Outside Central Region (OCR), or suburbs, dominated with 60.2 per cent of August’s sales or 285 units, followed by the Rest of Central Region (RCR), or city fringes, with 139 transactions, and the Core Central Region (CCR), or city centre, with 49 deals. No new private home projects were launched in August, although 590 units from previously-launched developments were released.

“There was no new private residential project launched last month as the developers might want to avoid launching their projects in the Hungry Ghost month period. In addition, six new residential projects were launched in July. The market will need some time to absorb the new supply,” said Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research & consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants. 

Lake Grande in Jurong, launched in July, continued to top the chart with 35 homes sold at a median price of S$1,317 per square foot. Notably, many projects sold in August have been on the market for quite some time, including The Trilinq, The Glades, Sims Urban Oasis and Kingsford Hillview Peak.

“With fewer launches in the pipeline due to the tapering of the Government Land Sales programme, buyers’ choices have narrowed, and demand has gravitated towards existing launches,” said OrangeTee analysts in a report.

During the next few months, said analysts, volume is likely to pick up as developers rush to launch their projects before the year-end holiday season, which is another lull period. The pre-launch marketing activities for Forest Woods in Serangoon Central and The Alps Residences in Tampines are now under way, and they could be launched before November.

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