Despite the surprise cooling measures announced on 11th January, the month still saw a healthy 2,013 number of private residential transactions (excluding ECs), up 42.7% from December’s 1,410 units. Including executive condominiums, January's sales had exceeded the numbers in December 2012. Mainly led by the mass market segment (priced below $1,500psf) which sold a total of 1,625 units (excluding ECs), with 350 new homes sold in the core central region and 1,663 new units in the city fringe were sold.
“We believe there is a sudden surge in the demand for private homes especially on the day of the announcement of the 7th property cooling measures. Many homebuyers were rushing to make their purchases. Most show flats extended their opening hours on the evening the measures were announced to facilitate last-minute purchases. The number of transactions indicates clearly that demand for private properties is still there, especially when you take into consideration the advent of the January cooling measures.
However, we do not expect new homes take-up rate in 2013 to exceed 20,000 units as of 2012 as developers are likely to take some time to assess the impact of the latest cooling measures, the market sentiments and reactions,” said Mr Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty.
The star performers in January were the following: La Fiesta at Sengkang sold a massive 404 units with median prices of $1,163psf, Q Bay Residences at Tampines sold 372 units at a median price of $1,012psf and D’Leedon sold 263 units at $1,406psf while The Topiary (EC) sold 100 units at $736psf. Sale of the top 2 projects in January had well exceeded 50% of the units sold comparing M-on-M (excluding ECs) with December 2012.
Buyers may adopt wait-and-see approach
“The higher ABSD imposed on Singaporeans and PRs from this round of measures would definitely reduce sales volume of homes in the Rest of Central Region and Outside Central Region in the near term. PRs would be more discerning and price sensitive in the purchase of their first private home. Singaporeans who have one existing property is likely to hold off their investment decisions for a second property due to the 7 per cent ABSD imposition.”
“First-time Singaporean homebuyers, who are unaffected by this round of cooling measures, would be the key group of buyers to support the mid-tier and mass market residential segment. This may offset the reduction in homebuyers who are kept out of the market due to the more restrictive measures. However, the majority of such prospective buyers are likely to wait at the side-lines for the time being to monitor price changes, before committing to buy a private home for investment or occupation,” predicted Mr Mohd Ismail.
Healthy Forecast Notwithstanding More Cooling Measures
“In spite of the cooling measures, sales volume for February 2013 is expected to hover at less than or around 1,000 units as February is a short month and the month also incorporates the usually quiet Lunar New Year period in terms of launches and transactions. I also expect March 2013’s transactions to be between 1,300 to 1,500 units as developers will want to launch their projects after the Chinese New Year period,” remarked Mr Ismail.
With regards to the latest cooling measures, Mr Mohd Ismail elaborated that the full impact would only be seen clearly after 1Q13. “Investors should instead decide based on their investment goals, time horizon and affordability. As long as they do not invest beyond their means, there will always be interesting projects with good locality attributes available that could be worth investing in,” concluded Mr Mohamed Ismail.
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