Despite the recent slump in the property market, new private properties are still being snapped up in the market.
Last month's sales of new private homes jumped to 1,323 units, harking back to the days of the property boom, said observers.
In January, only 108 units were sold.
The figure was largely propped up by two newly launched heartland condominiums - the 293-unit Alexis at Alexandra Road and the 517-unit Caspian in Jurong.
Prices started from $450,000 at Alexis and $340,000 at Caspian.
'Developers probably realised after January's dismal sales that they had to lower their prices, while buyers noticed these discounts and decided to buy,' said PropNex's corporate communications manager Adam Tan.
According to CBRE Research executive director Li Hiaw Ho, the majority of last month's buyers were HDB upgraders who put buying on hold while home prices surged in 2006 and 2007.
He estimated that private home sales this month would come up to about 400 to 600 units, bringing the total number of units sold to 1,800 to 2,000 for the January to March quarter.
'A few projects are still selling fairly well, but they are not as large-scale as the projects launched last month,' said Mr Li, who predicted that sales figures are likely to hover around 500 to 700 units a month for the second quarter of the year.
Developments that are anticipated to do well this month include Waterfront Waves in Bedok, which was first launched last year but relaunched in the middle of March, and Mi Casa condominium in Choa Chu Kang, which analysts are expecting to be launched at the end of the month.
They have 457 and 405 units respectively.
The rate of new launches this month is likely to be similar to last month's, said Dr Chua Yang Liang, the head of research and consultancy at Jones Lang LaSalle Singapore.
'This is backed by housing developers' confidence in the latent demand by genuine homebuyers, encouraging them to release more,' he said.
However, the islandwide take-up rate this month could dip as the market has been rather temperamental, especially in light of the volatile global stock market performance, he said.
So when is the right time to buy?
'Many people ask that question but they should really be asking themselves where they want to buy, what they are buying it for, and what are their risk profiles,' said PropNex's Mr Tan.
'Don't buy blindly just because the price is good. As some of these places have two or three years till their completion, one should also consider the property's surroundings, such as existing or future infrastructure. Go into this investment with about five to 10 years in mind.'
Source: Straits Times, 29 Mar 2009