Property developers sold 1,262 new private homes in April 2021. While this was a fall of 2.6% m-o-m, sales jumped 455.6% y-o-y due to the dampened effect on buyer sentiment during the “circuit breaker” period last year.
This is the seventh consecutive month since the end of the circuit breaker in June 2020 where monthly developer new home sales have topped 1,000 units sold per month.
“The sales performance for the overall market is healthy despite the slight decrease in sales volume, considering a higher proportion of pricier homes were sold and no mass-market projects were launched,” says Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee&Tie.
Sales in city-fringe areas, or the Rest of Central Region (RCR), took the spotlight last month when 41.2% of new private home sales came from projects in the area. This included the 165-unit One-North Eden which sold more than 85% of its launched units.
Sales in the city centre, or Core Central Region (CCR), accounted for 34.2% of monthly new home sales, and were mostly attributed to the performance of the 540-unit Irwell Hill Residences, where more than 50% of the units launched were sold over the opening weekend.
While the robust sales in April signalled an upbeat market at the time, buyers were prudent in their purchases, says Ong Teck Hui, senior director of research & consultancy at JLL. He adds that right-sizing and right-pricing is still the strategy supporting successful sales in new launches.
More than 80% of the units sold at Irwell Hill Residences were below 700 sq ft and commanded prices between $998,000 and $1.97 million. At One-North Eden, two-thirds of the units sold were less than 800 sq ft and fetched prices between $965,000 and $1.71 million.
“It is now uncertain whether the strong market momentum witnessed so far will continue, as some buyers are likely to be cautious due to the current upsurge in Covid-19 infections. An early containment of the infection would restore confidence and sustain sales take-up but a prolonged infection spread could moderate market activity,” says Ong.
No new project launches are expected to roll out for the next six weeks and, after eight successful launches in the first four months of 2021, the market could be taking a breather for the next few weeks, says Mark Yip, CEO of Huttons Asia.
The reimposition of heightened safe management measures announced by the government on May 14 lowers the capacity allowed at showflats, and Yip says it will lengthen the decision-making process for buyers and further lower the transaction volume of new home sales in May and June.
However, he does not expect the market to return to the low sales numbers recorded during the circuit breaker period in 2020. This is because more than 400 new units have already been sold within the first two weeks of May 2021.
Following the rush to digitalise after the circuit breaker period last year, most of the real estate industry has the technology infrastructure to mitigate some of the adverse impacts of the tightened measures, says Sun.
“Agents and buyers are getting more accustomed to virtual property viewings through videos and live-streaming. Therefore, the property sector seems to be more prepared to ensure business continuity than a year ago,” she says.
Assuming the safe management measures end on June 13, developers could feel confident enough to roll out some of the remaining new projects in the pipeline. This includes Klimt Cairnhill, Pasir Ris 8, Perfect Ten, The Watergardens at Canberra and the executive condo Parc Greenwich.