Despite a looming world recession and the Covid-19 pandemic, the private residential property market in Singapore still appears to be a safe-haven asset.
Last month recorded the second-strongest February sales performance in eight years, with developers moving 975 private homes, compared to 620 units sold the previous month. This marked a 57.3 per cent increase.
Compared to the 455 units sold in February 2019, the newest figure is 114 per cent higher. These figures do not include executive condominium (EC) units.
The number of units launched increased 56 per cent to 933 in February from 598 the previous month, and increased 56.5 per cent to 596 from last year, as shown by the data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Monday (16 March).
In February, two large projects were launched, which are the 496-unit Parc Canberra EC, which moved 324 units, and The M, which saw 380 of its 522 units sold.
Lee Sze Teck, the Research Director of Huttons Asia, remarked, “The M, with its attractive pricing and prized location in Bugis overshadowed the virus.”
“More than 70 per cent were sold during the launch weekend. The last time such sales figures were achieved for a project in the Core Central Region (CCR) was… in mid-November 2013, when 468 units (71 per cent) of the 660-unit DUO Residences were sold over three days at a launch in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore by M+S, a joint venture between Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional,” he added.
Last month, the EC segment also did well. According to Mr Lee, 60 per cent of Parc Canberra units were sold, thus making it one of the best-selling ECs following Hundred Palms.
The robust sales is due to more investors diversifying their portfolios to property investments following the recent stock market crash, Orange Tee & Tie’s Head of Research & Consultancy, Christine Sun opined. The number of purchases by Singaporeans grew substantially in February, she added.
URA Realis data showed that Singaporeans bought 812 non-landed homes last month, not including ECs. This figure is an increase from the 413 units in January and 351 units in December 2019. Also, there was an increase in the number of foreign buyers from 116 in December 2019 to 149 in February 2020.
“The increasing volatility of the financial markets may continue to propel investors to real estate as properties are widely regarded as safe-haven assets that offer more stable returns…The softening of the Sing dollar in recent months may attract foreigners to invest in properties here,” Ms Christine pointed out.
Interest rate has been cut to near zero and quantitative easing has been resumed by the US Federal Reserve as part of emergency stimulus. These measures by the US may continue to boost housing demand because of higher liquidity, Ms Christine explained.
Developers found purchasers for 1,314 units in February, including ECs which are a public-private housing hybrid. This figure marks an increase by 105.3 per cent from 640 units sold in January and 187.5 per cent more than the 457 units sold in February 2019 by developers.
In January, the number of units launched rose 139 per cent to 1,429 from 598, which is also higher by 140 per cent from 596 in 2019.