Singapore home sales climb to highest in more than a year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 12:52am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 2:08am

Singapore home sales rose to the highest in more than a year in October as developers marketed more projects on pent-up demand from homebuyers.

Developers sold 1,252 units last month, compared with 509 units in September, according to data released Tuesday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. That’s the biggest monthly sales tally since July 2015, the data showed.

Developers launched 1,467 units last month in Singapore, more than three times the number in September. The largest sales came from the Forest Woods project by Serangoon Green Pte which sold 364 units of the 519 marketed. The Alps project by MCC Land sold 334 of 626 units launched for sale.

The surge in sales came even as Singapore’s government has been steadfast in its commitment to cool the housing market, maintaining real estate curbs rolled out since 2009. Singapore’s home prices and sales have eased since the government began introducing housing curbs, with some of the strictest measures implemented in 2013.

The city-state’s home prices dropped for a 12th quarter in the three months ended September 30, and residential values are down 11 per cent from their peak three years ago. The existing stock of unsold homes may take three years to sell, according to Augustine Tan, President of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore. In addition to the oversupply, home vacancy rates are at their highest in more than 11 years, Tan said in September.

Leaders in neighbouring Hong Kong this month moved to cool property prices, raising the stamp duty to 15 per cent for all residential purchases -- except for first-time buyers who are permanent residents. Demographia last year found Hong Kong housing to be the least affordable it’s measured in 11 years of surveying large urban markets. Singapore, while by no means a cheap city to own property, ranked 27th on the list with its overall affordability score holding steady in recent years.