Photo: straitstimes.com

Due to the worsening COVID-19 situation, 660 private homes were sold last month by developers in Singapore. This is a 32.4 per cent decline from 976 units in February.
From a year-on-year comparison, the figure last month was 37.4 per cent lower than March 2019 at 1,054 units.
Sales in the core central region (CCR) declined, which then led to the decline this month’s decline. Compared to February at 412 units, 45 units were sold in March, which is 89.1 per cent lower. Wing Tai’s The M condo units fuelled the sales in February, with 380 units.
In February, the top seller was the 522-unit The M in Middle Road. During the launch month, 73 per cent of its units were sold at a median price of S$2,439 per square per foot despite the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sales in the outside central region (OCR) and the rest of central region (RCR) both increased 10.6 per cent to 333 units and 7.2 per cent to 282 units in March each respectively.
Last month, 578 units were launched in total, with 314 in the OCR, 163 in the RCR and 101 in the CCR. On the other hand, 933 units were launched in February, with 217 in the OCR, 115 in the RCR and 601 in the CCR.
According to Christine Sun, the Head of Research & Consultancy at Orange & Tie, no mega projects were launched in the CCR in March.
She explained that “New home sales in RCR and OCR remained resilient last month as many deals were probably near completion prior to the worsening of the Covid-19 outbreak and before stricter safe-distancing measures kicked in at the end of March.”
“Some investors may have also bought properties to diversify their investment portfolios after the stock market rout in March,” Ms Sun noted.
On Wednesday (15 April), the figures were released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) which is based on its survey of licensed housing developers. Executive condominium (EC) units, which are a hybrid of public-private housing, are not included in the figures. If ECs are included, developers’ sales declined 31.3 per cent to 904 units last month, compared to 1,315 units in February.
Sales in Q1 of this year were fairly decent although they fell sharply in March.
In addition, sales in March were the sixth consecutive month that monthly sales volume was higher than the launch volume, as stated by Lee Sze Teck, Huttons Asia’s Director (research).
Mr Lee added that “If we compare 1Q 2019 to 1Q 2020, 2020 is a very good year for the market, with sales estimated to be 16 per cent higher than the same period in 2019. Property is proving to be an enduring asset class for many in times of uncertainty and the desire for wealth preservation amid the stock market rout.”
The sales in April are suffering due to the “circuit breaker”, he pointed out. People are allowed to go out only for essential errands during the “circuit breaker” period from 7 April to 4 May.
Mr Lee concluded: “However, if initial first-week sales are any indication of demand for property, there is cause for optimism. An estimated 150 caveats for new private residential properties were lodged in the first five days of April.”

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