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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

S’pore private home sales surge

Boost from upgraders: Residents of HDB flats in Singapore have lifted property sales as they move on to better homes.

SINGAPORE: New private home sales surged 21% with 1,631 homes finding buyers in September. This is more than the 1,351 units sold in August.

Industry watchers attribute the higher sales volume to Housing and Development Board (HDB) upgraders.

Including executive condominium (EC) units, the number swelled to 2,064 units. Li Hiaw Ho, executive director of CBRE Research, said the high September volume was mainly supported by mass-market and upgrader-type projects, with a total 433 EC units sold in September, compared with 290 in August.

“It is likely that the latest government move to raise the household income ceiling for EC buyers from S$10,000 to S$12,000 a month has given a boost to the sales momentum,” he added.

EC owners who have occupied their apartments and met the five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) can sell their EC on the open market. Resale ECs are treated as equivalent to “private housing”, according to information listed on the HDB website.

Arc At Tampines, the first EC project launched after the announcement, registered 233 units sold at a median price of S$734 per sq ft (psf). RiverParc Residence in Punggol sold a further 90 units (S$685 psf) in addition to the 393 already sold, while Blossom Residences in Bukit Panjang sold 52 units at S$706 psf on top of the 361 units sold earlier.

Mohamed Ismail, chief executive officer of PropNex Realty, agreed, highlighting that units in private property projects such as A Treasure Trove in Punggol were sold mainly to HDB upgraders.

“Savvy home buyers are now taking the mid- to long-term perspective to investing in a home in Singapore,” he said. “Overall, we predict that mass-market homes will be the driving force for this private property segment in the next three months.”

However, he qualified that “this forecast is not withstanding any unforeseen disaster or economic downturn.”

Li said developers were monitoring the impact of the eurozone crisis on the Singapore economy to time their project launches.

“We expect the total new home sales volume in 2011 to exceed the 14,688 units sold in 2009, but it remains to be seen whether it can outdo the record 16,292 units sold in 2010,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Singapore government will be releasing four residential sites for sale by the end of this month.

Together, the four parcels of land will yield about 1,900 homes. The first is a land site in Alexandra Road that had been launched for sale by public tender on Monday.

The other three sites will be available for sale on Oct 27. One of the land parcels is at the junction of Almond Avenue and Chestnut Avenue and is designated for landed housing.

Another plot zoned for condominium or apartment use is located at the corner of Punggol Central and Punggol Place.

The third piece of land is an EC site at Fernvale Lane. Three of these sites are from the confirmed list of the second half of this year's government land sale programme, while the EC site at Fernvale Lane is from the reserve list.

By Straits Times Singapore

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