developer sales soaring
SINGAPORE, 17 August 2020 – Amid the pandemic and economic downturn, developers’ sales continued to outperform expectations in July, booking the highest monthly sales in eight months. Latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed that 1,080 new private homes (excluding Executive Condos) were sold in July 2020 – up by 8.2% from the 998 units transacted in the previous month and 8.4% lower than 1,179 units sold in July 2019.
July’s new home sales of 1,080 units were also the highest monthly tally since 1,165 units were shifted in November 2019. In total, 4,942 new private homes were sold in the first seven months of 2020, representing an 8% year-on-year (YOY) decline from 5,367 units transacted in the corresponding period of 2019.
The increase in sales in July was led by the Core Central Region (CCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR) which saw transactions rise by 43.0% and 12.1% month-on-month (MOM), respectively. Meanwhile, new home sales dipped by about 2.6% MOM to 419 units in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) (See Chart 1).
Developers launched 869 new units for sale in July, representing a 45.6% increase from the 597 units put on the market in June 2020.
“It appears that the private new home sales market has wind in its sails right now, driven by underlying housing demand, ample liquidity in the system, low interest rates, and attractively priced projects. With no new major launches in July, the market continued to absorb units from previously launched projects – at a pace which we think is commendable given the substantial economic headwind from the pandemic.
In July, the OCR continued to drive new home sales, accounting for 51% or 548 units of the total transactions. The top three best-selling projects in the month – Treasure At Tampines, Parc Clematis, and The Florence Residences – were all in the OCR. We believe the mass market segment will continue to do well underpinned by demand from HDB upgraders.
Meanwhile, the CCR also posted a sharp spike in sales from June to July, spurred by right pricing strategy at projects including KOPAR at Newton, Fourth Avenue Residences, The Avenir, and The M.
Based on our analysis of Realis data, we found that more Singaporeans have bought CCR units in recent years, accounting for 63.2% of total CCR transactions in 2019 compared with 48.3% in 2018. This momentum has continued into this year with Singaporeans contributing to 77.8% of total CCR transactions in the first seven months of 2020 (See Table 1). It seems like Singaporeans have picked up the slack following the pull-back in foreign purchases following the increase in additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) for foreigners in 2018 and more recently, the travel bans due to the pandemic.
In addition, developers have also priced CCR units competitively amid the challenging economic landscape compared with more positive times. For instance, the median transacted price at KOPAR at Newtown was $2,292 psf in July 2020 – relatively more attractive than the median price range of $2,600 – $3,400 psf transacted in District 9’s new launches back in 2019.
Over in the RCR, sales remained fairly steady from June to July, with Jadescape, Daintree, and Parc Esta being the top performers in the segment. We expect the newly launched Forett @ Bukit Timah – which has reportedly sold 190 units (or 30% of the total 633 units) during its launch weekend over National Day – to prop up overall new home sales in August. With more new launches planned for the rest of the year, we anticipate a reasonably active primary market in the months to come – particularly after the traditional Hungry Ghost month (Aug 19 to Sept 16).”
“While the relatively brisk sales in recent months may seem at odds with the gloomy economic prognosis, it must be said that the current downturn is not felt evenly across all sectors of the economy. Some sectors – such as financial services and tech – have held up better than others amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, there are still segments of the population – those who feel more secure about their job prospects or have built up substantial savings over the years or perhaps have been thinking of upgrading to a condo – may see this as an opportune time to enter the market.
According to Realis data, 81.4% of the new private homes sold in July were priced at between $1,000 and $2,000 psf (See Chart 2) – lower than 85.9% in June. Notably, more homes were transacted in the pricier categories of above $2,000 psf – 17.6% in July versus 14% in June – perhaps reflecting the better take-up of units in the CCR during the month.
We remain cautiously optimistic about the new home sales volume which should find support from the new launches that are still to come. Some upcoming launches include Penrose in Sims Drive; The Landmark in Chin Swee Road; Myra in Potong Pasir; Verdale in Jalan Jurong Kechil; and Ki Residences in Brookvale Drive. However, downside risks persist and there remains a high degree of uncertainty over the pandemic situation and Singapore’s economic outlook. Apart from the pandemic, global geopolitical and trade tensions also bear watching as any intensification could further weigh on the economy.”
The top selling private residential projects in July included: Treasure At Tampines which sold 112 units at a median price of $1,344 psf; Parc Clematis which moved 87 units ($1,649 psf); The Florence Residences which sold 78 units ($1,559 psf); Jadescape which shifted 75 units ($1,739 psf); and Daintree Residences which transacted 56 units ($1,641 psf). Many of the top 10 best sellers held prices relatively steady in July with a slight increase in median prices as compared with their respective median launch prices (See Table 2).
Property Prices rose
Overall private home prices in Singapore unexpectedly rose by 0.3% in Q2 2020, following the 1% decline in the previous quarter, according to the latest real estate statistics announced by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The marginal uptick in prices in Q2 reversed the forecast of a 1.1% decline in the flash estimate released earlier this month.
The improvement in private home prices from Q1 to Q2 was fairly broad-based across the landed and non-landed home segments, with the exception of the Rest of Central Region (RCR). In Q2 2020, the non-landed home segment led the increase, rising by 0.4% – boosted by the Core Central Region (CCR) which saw prices climbed by 2.7% and the Outside Central Region (OCR) where prices inched up by 0.1%. In the Rest of Central Region (RCR), Q2 home prices fell by 1.7%, a steeper decline compared with the 0.5% fall in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, landed home values remained unchanged in Q2, after slipping by 0.9% in Q1 2020. (See Table 1).
In terms of sales volume, 2,664 private residential properties were sold (See Chart 1) in Q2 2020, representing a 37.6% quarter-on-quarter (QOQ) decline from the 4,269 private homes sold in Q1 2020. On a year-on-year (YOY) basis, sales were 44.1% down from the 4,766 units transacted in the corresponding period in 2019.
On private home prices and market outlook:
Please attribute the comments below to Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex.
“Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown, it appears that property prices have defied the odds to register a small growth in Q2 2020. This is an upside surprise given the unprecedented safe distancing measures and mass gathering restrictions in Q2 2020, which resulted in show flat closures and a standstill in the resale market. In addition, there were almost no major project launches in Q2 which typically help to boost volume and support prices.
We think the residential property market held up well in the face of crisis and it is testament to the resilience of the sector, which in our view entered the crisis with strong fundamentals, as various property measures over the years have curbed overexuberance in the market. By and large, we believe developers could draw some comfort from this set of numbers which showed that sales and prices have put up a good resistance to what is probably the biggest crisis for Singapore and the world.
Cumulatively, the Property Price Index has now fallen by 0.7% for the first half of 2020. On account of the resilience seen in Q2 2020 and our observations on the market, we are adjusting our forecast for prices to fall by 1 to 2% this year, rather than the 3% drop in our earlier projection. Our observations on the ground suggest that private home prices will likely be fairly stable. Developers with strong holding power are generally not cutting prices actively but have adopted sensitive pricing as buyers remain value conscious. In addition, home values could find more support in the near-term with several new launches still to come as well as the potential for economic recovery – albeit patchy – in the quarters ahead. Meanwhile, developers’ sales may fall to about 7,500 units (excluding Executive Condos) this year – down by about 24% from 9,912 transacted in 2019”
On new private home sales and demand profile:
Please attribute the comments below to Wong Siew Ying (???), Head of Research and Content, PropNex.
“As developers set to roll out more projects with prices that are attuned to the market, we believe there is still a good chance for the new home sales momentum seen in June to be repeated in the months ahead. While the economic downturn could lead to some buyers postponing their buying decision, we believe the benign interest rates and strong fiscal policy measures to help businesses and individuals will broadly lend support to housing demand and underpin sales.
In Q2 2020, developers sold a total of 1,713 new units (excl. ECs) in the primary market – 20.3% lower than 2,149 units in Q1 2020 and down by 27.1% YOY. Taken together, new home sales totalled 3,862 units in the first half (1H) of 2020, down by 7.6% from the 1H 2019.
Of the new private homes sold in Q2 2020, mass market homes in Outside Central Region (OCR) accounted for about 49% (833 units) of the total new sales. Projects in the OCR such as Treasure At Tampines, Parc Clematis, and The Florence Residences topped the sales chart last quarter and appeared to be steadily shifting units while keeping prices fairly stable. Based on Realis data, the median transacted prices of the three projects all came in slightly higher in Q2 – at between 1 and 6% – than their respective launch prices (see Table 2).
PropNex Research notes that 90% of the new private homes sold in Q2 2020 were below $2 million, slightly higher than the 86% in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, 61% of new units transacted were under 800 sq ft (Q1 2020: 63%), according to Realis figures. The data continues to affirm that buyers are price sensitive and mostly prudent in their home purchase.
As developers progressively move units, the unsold inventory continued to decline to 27,977 as at the end of Q2 2020 (See Chart 2), down from 29,149 units in the preceding quarter. Based on the historical 10-year annual average for new home sales at around 12,000 units a year, it would take just over two years to clear the remaining unsold units. Even adopting a conservative sell-through rate of 7,000 units per annum, the unsold stock could be cleared in about four years – which is still a reasonably healthy timeline.”
The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has also released its HDB Resale Price Index which showed that resale prices of public housing flats rose by 0.3% in Q2 2020 (See Table 3) – building on the price resilience seen in the preceding three quarters. The 0.3% print is also higher than the 0.2% growth indicated in the flash estimates announced in the beginning of July.
It marked the fourth straight quarter that HDB resale prices stayed out of the negative territory, following six years of decline from 2013 to 2018. The HDB resale price index (131.9) is now 11.7% below its all-time peak (149.4) in Q2 2013.
On HDB resale prices and outlook:
Please attribute the comments below to Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex.
“The HDB resale market likely bottomed in Q2 2020 with prices growing marginally by 0.3% from the previous quarter. We started to see some improvement in HDB resale prices in the second half of 2019 – no doubt helped by various changes to housing policies, including the enhanced CPF Housing Grant, higher income ceiling and relaxation of rules in using CPF to buy older HDB flats. The fact that prices held up in recent quarters – amid the pandemic – reflects the strength of the HDB resale market, where sellers still have sufficient holding power and are able to maintain their asking prices.
We believe factors that would help to keep prices fairly stable in the HDB resale market include: 1) the Mortgage Servicing Ratio of 30%; 2) buyers of resale flats are mostly owner occupiers; 3) limited speculative activity; and 4) healthy underlying demand for resale flats. Hence, we expect HDB resale prices to remain flat for the rest of the year, with a potential for marginal upside of up to 1% increase for the whole of 2020.
In terms of sales volume, a total of 9,319 HDB flats were resold in 1H 2020. We are projecting overall HDB resale volume to be in the range of 21,000 to 22,000 for the full-year 2020, compared with 23,714 units resold in 2019.”
On HDB resale transactions:
Please attribute the comments below to Wong Siew Ying (???), Head of Research and Content, PropNex.
“HDB resale transactions have been on a growth trajectory from 2014 (See Chart 3), growing each year to reach 23,714 units last year and we saw that sales momentum spilling into Q1 2020 where 5,893 HDB flats were resold, which incidentally was the highest quarterly HDB resale volume for a first quarter since 2012.
We believe the 41.9% QOQ decline in HDB resales volume to 3,426 units in Q2 2020 does not reflect weaker demand for such homes, but rather the effects of the circuit breaker and Phase 1 measures which restricted agents from conducting property viewings and closing sales. Indeed, transactions picked up significantly upon the re-opening of the economy, thereby boosting June’s volume.
Demand for resale flats is likely to remain fairly healthy and we anticipate that HDB resale volume should improve in the quarters to come. Meanwhile, given Singapore’s high national savings rate, we think household wealth should be able to provide some buffer against immediate sell-down in the event of job loss”.
property sales increase
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 15 July 2020 – Despite no new major project launches, new private home sales in Singapore rebounded strongly in June 2020, surging by about 105% to 998 units (excluding Executive Condos) from the 487 units transacted in the previous month. Notably, this is the highest new home sales in the month of June since 1,806 units were sold in June 2013. It is also the highest monthly figure since November 2019, where 1,165 new homes were transacted.
New home sales posted the second consecutive monthly increase in June 2020 – albeit from the low base in May – and it continues to indicate a firm underlying demand for affordably priced homes, notwithstanding the challenging economic outlook due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On a year-on-year basis, last month’s new home sales of 998 units were 22% higher than the 821 units sold in June 2019, which saw four projects being launched then: Sky Everton; Lattice One; Sloane Residences; and Seraya Residences.
Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex, said, “The market took a breather in April and May due to the circuit breaker but sales activity is picking up gradually. As the economy re-opens, we are seeing buyers coming back to take up units – cognizant of the fact that it is a buyer’s market and that units are more attractively priced. Amid concerns about the economic downturn and jobs, there are still genuine buyers out there – with ample liquidity – who are taking advantage of the low interest rates to purchase well-priced units.”
The increase in sales in June was largely driven by mass market homes in the Outside Central Region, supported by the upgrader and owner occupier demand. Projects such as Treasure At Tampines, Parc Clematis, and The Florence Residences continued to move units at a steady clip, owing to their sensitive pricing. These three projects accounted for over 28% of the total sales in June and were among the top 10 best-selling private residential projects last month.
Wong Siew Ying (???), Head of Research and Content at PropNex, said, “Typically, new home sales tend to be supply-led, with new launches propping up transactions and prices. The fact that June’s sales outperformed expectations amid a dearth of new major project launches is perhaps a sign of cautious confidence in the property market, as people adjust to new norms and market realities. This is the best monthly sales since November 2019 and it offers some hope for a more sustained sales momentum over the rest of the year, as developers roll out new developments for sale.”
By price quantum, Realis data showed that 86% of new units sold in June were $2 million and under, compared with 96% in May. PropNex expects the $2 million and below pricing brackets to remain the sweet spot, as buyers continue to be value conscious. Meanwhile, new home sales of units priced above $2 million came in higher in June against May, possibly due to a larger number of bigger units being sold. In terms of size, units under 800 square foot were most popular, accounting for 55% of new sales in June.
Most developers were unable to launch new projects in recent months due to the measures implemented over the circuit breaker and Phase 1 period from 7 April to 18 June 2020. Last month, developers put 597 new units on the market – down from the 615 units launched in May 2020.
Q2 and 1H 2020 New Home Sales
Factoring June’s data, developers have sold an estimated 1,762 new private homes in Q2 2020 – 25% off the pace of sales in Q2 2019. This took new home sales to 3,911 units in the first half of 2020 (1H 2020), representing a 7% decline from the corresponding period last year.
Ms. Wong noted, “Private home sales in Q2, when seen in the context of the pandemic and its massive impact on the economy and society, actually performed better than expected thanks to digital technology. Show flats were shut for most part of the quarter and we saw a large number of transactions being closed via digital tools and virtual tours – reflecting a certain degree of nimbleness in the market to adjust to the new normal. We expect technology to continue to play an important role in driving sales.”
Mr. Ismail added, “In the scheme of things, given the unprecedented nature of this pandemic and the heightened level of uncertainty, we think the primary market held up fairly well and it remains resilient. With potential new launches still to come in the second half of the year, new home sales may find some support and reach 7,500 for the whole of 2020 – down from the 9,912 transactions in 2019.”
latest research report
29 June 2020 – Mainboard listed PropNex, a leading real estate agency in the region has today released its latest research report which provides a detailed look at the private residential transactions in April and May 2020, when the circuit breaker measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 were implemented in Singapore. It also seeks to evaluate the property buying behaviour of consumers during this time and offer some recommendations to developers and investors as Singapore navigates an uncertain economic environment.
Data compiled by PropNex Research showed that the circuit breaker (which was in place from 7 April to 1 June, inclusive) disrupted market activities and snapped the growth momentum in the property market in April and May after a positive Q1, where 4,269 units (excluding Executive Condominiums) were sold. Total private residential sales plunged, coming in at 647 units in April and 660 units in May 2020 – down sharply from the previous year (1,541 unit in April 2019; 1,843 units in May 2019).
For the month of April, 277 units were transacted in the primary market while 370 resale units found buyers. In May 2020, which saw the entire month affected by the circuit breaker, new home sales surged 75% month-on-month (MOM) to 486 units, while the resale segment slumped 53% to 174 units.
Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex, said, “The inability to view properties during this period has hit the resale market as such buyers usually prefer to examine the unit in person before transacting. In contrast, it was observed that buyers of new homes became more comfortable with digital viewings and transacting online from April to May, with attractively priced projects and low interest rates likely nudging them to make a purchase.”
Post-circuit breaker and with the gradual re-opening of the economy, the cautious sentiment and tepid growth would likely weigh on home buying interest and prices generally. However, the MOM rebound in new home sales in May and the return of buyers to pick up units in Phase 2 of the re-opening is a potential sign of underlying demand, particularly for strategically-priced units.
A larger proportion of homes were sold in the price quantum brackets of under $2 million. The trend was the most pronounced in May 2020 where 95% of new homes sold were valued at $2 million and under – the highest proportion of monthly sales in the first five months of the year. In comparison, it was 89% in April, 90% in March, 92% in February, and 73% in January.
This could be due to a combination of factors, including the sale of a higher number of smaller units and selective discounts offered by developers. These categories of homes – mass market and mid-tier – should continue to drive demand with support from upgraders/owner occupiers.
Based on Realis data, the median transacted price for non-landed homes dipped to $1.2 million in May from $1.4 million in January, possibly indicating an increase in demand for more affordable units.
- Unit size
In terms of sizes, homes that are under 800 sq ft have garnered the most interest from buyers and investors. In particular, homes spanning 500 to 800 sq ft were most popular in April and May, accounting for 62% and 54% of the total, respectively. This could point to some investors entering the market to pick up smaller units. It also indicated that buyers at large remain very price sensitive, buying less sizeable units to keep overall quantum affordable.
As COVID-19 concerns ebb over time, buyers should start to return to the market – particularly those who are more confident about job security or have built up substantial savings for investment. Meanwhile, a subdued economy would help to keep home prices in check and the low interest rate environment continues to be supportive of home financing.
PropNex projects a total of 14,500 to 15,500 private homes – including 8,000 to 8,500 units of new homes and ECs – could be sold this year, barring a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and widespread job losses. Given developers’ holding power and households generally not over-leveraged for property purchase, PropNex does not expect a sharp drop in prices. Overall private home prices are projected to fall by up to 3% for the full-year 2020 as the pandemic drags on.
Wong Siew Ying, Head of Research and Content at PropNex, said, “The pandemic has temporarily derailed the healthy growth in the property market. Going forward, demand and prices should track closely with Singapore’s economy. The long-term outlook for the Singapore residential property market remains positive, as factors that support the housing market – including pro-business policies, safety, and the stable political environment – remain intact. A look back in history paints a resilient picture of the residential market, which has recovered after each crisis with prices generally keeping pace with economic growth.”
In addition, the government has announced nearly $100 billion in stimulus packages to help businesses and protect jobs, which will lend some support to the property market.
Beyond COVID-19: The next normal
When show flats were shut, developers, agents and their agencies, as well as customers have turned to digital platforms in varying degree to market and transact properties. These online engagements via e-learning platforms and marketing tools have translated to steadily rising sales in the past 11 weeks following the imposition of the circuit breaker. Such physical to digital shifts would only grow in importance in the real estate sector.
With remote working gaining prominence, it is perhaps timely to rethink the concept of home and whether they are future-ready. Meanwhile, homebuyers could seize pockets of opportunities as prices fall in line with new market realities amid more subdued outlook.
home sales rise in may 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 15 June 2020 – New private home sales unexpectedly rise in May 2020 despite a lack of new launches and the closure of all property sales galleries as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore.
Developers sold a total of 486 units of private new homes (excluding Executive Condos) in May – up sharply by 75 per cent from the 277 units transacted in April. On a year-on-year basis, sales were 49 per cent lower than the 952 new homes shifted in May 2019. Notably, the 486 units sold in May 2020 is the lowest monthly tally for the month of May since 453 new homes were transacted in May 2008.
Taken together, developers have sold 2,912 new homes in the first five months of 2020, representing a 17 per cent decline from 3,527 units sold in the corresponding period of 2019.
Chief Executive Officer of PropNex Realty, Ismail Gafoor, said, “The sales in May were very encouraging given the dearth of launches and shuttered show flats. With the rising phenomena of virtual sales galleries, we are seeing buyers and investors adjusting and adapting to the new normal and digital modes of property marketing and sales. We are monitoring the market closely but it appears that the worst may be over as Singapore continues to work at containing the virus and is exploring a phased approach to re-opening the economy.”
Wong Siew Ying, Head of Research and Content, said, “The rebound in sales witnessed in May was predominantly driven by the better take-up in the city fringe and mass market segments, as a handful of competitively-priced projects continued to shift units at a steady clip. May’s sales performance offers optimism for June, where developers can tap a larger-than-usual buyer pool for their existing launches, with the resumption of the school term this month and travel restrictions keeping families in the country.”
The top 5 best-selling projects for the month of May were Treasure At Tampines, Parc Clematis, The Florence Residences, Parc Esta and Jadescape. Treasure At Tampines was the top-selling development, with a total of 56 units sold at a median price of $1,360 psf. It was followed by Parc Clematis, which moved a total of 55 units at a median price of $1,599 psf.
Interestingly, of the five best-selling private residential projects, three developments – Treasure At Tampines, The Florence Residences, and Jadescape – recorded a slight increase in their median price compared to when they were launched. Meanwhile, median prices at Parc Esta and Parc Clematis saw a marginal dip in May from when the two projects were launched in November 2018 and August 2019, respectively.
The pricing ‘sweet-spot’ that saw most transactions done in May remained at under $1.5 million. A unit (3,305 sq ft) at KOPAR at Newton was the most expensive unit transacted in May, with a price tag of $7.8 million ($2,385 psf).
Mr.Ismail added that, “We forecast that developers could still sell about 7,000 to 7,500 new units (excluding Executive Condos) in 2020, barring a second wave of infection and widespread job losses. We believe developers’ sensitive pricing strategy, the low interest rate environment, and the long term prospects of the property market in Singapore will continue to underpin demand for choice homes.”
New launches in the upcoming months include Forett @ Bukit Timah by Qing Jian Realty and Penrose by City Developments Limited and Hong Leong Holdings’ Intrepid Investments.
Singaporeans are not saving enough
How to catch up with this inflation and save more?
According to OCBC survey here, Singaporeans do not even have enough savings to allow them to maintain their current lifestyle beyond six months if they were to lose their jobs now. Hence with the current market situation, what should Singaporeans do to even try to maintain the basic need, roofing over their heads? Actually, it all boils down to financial calculation and providing a safety net for yourself and your family. As long as you provide a safety net, real estate will be a less risky asset for everyone out there.
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