Monday, March 16, 2009

Private home sales up tenfold to 1,323 units in February

SINGAPORE: The sale of private residential properties shot up more than tenfold in February to 1,323 units, compared to just 108 in January.

Homebuyers thronged the showflats of mass-market projects like The Caspian in Boon Lay and The Alexis in Alexandra, and they propped up the property sales figures in February, accounting for more than 70 per cent of the units sold for the month.

Property-watchers said those upgrading from public housing were attracted by affordable pricing and proximity to amenities like train stations.

But with the economy likely to contract further, resulting in more job losses in the coming months, February's home sales may not be sustained.

Priya Sengupta, associate director, Research & Consultancy, Savills, said: "The coming months may not see such a high take-up, but if the momentum goes on and off in this manner, the confidence will return."

Observers said the February data suggested that buyers are willing to jump in at attractive prices, so developers are likely to launch similar projects with absolute unit prices at under S$1 million.

Brandon Lee, investment analyst, DMG & Partners Securities, said: "I would expect more of these to come in the form of mass market. On the other hand, we could also be looking at a slow progression towards mid and prime projects. These projects might include re-launched projects at heftier discounts."

Analysts said new mass market, mid-tier properties are likely to fall in the price range of between S$550 and S$600 per square foot. Developers are also likely to offer hefty discounts of up to 30 per cent for some selected properties.

Observers said they expect prices of prime properties to weaken further, falling to about S$1,600 per square foot.

Source: Channel News Asia, 16 Mar 2009

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