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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Singapore property sales set for record year

SINGAPORE: Record sales of private homes here in July may push the 2009 total to an all-time high as local sentiment and global economic prospects improve, analysts said yesterday.

A total of 2,767 apartments and houses were sold in July - the most ever sold in a single month - and this brought the total for the first seven months of this year to more than 10,000 units, according to official figures.

The previous annual record of 14,811 units was set in 2007 and experts believe there is still pent-up demand from buyers sidelined by high prices that year and the financial crisis of 2008, when property sales dipped sharply.

Buyer interest began to pick up in the first quarter of this year and exploded in the second quarter as developers launched affordable projects and foreign investors returned to the Singapore property market.

"It (2009) is likely to beat the 2007 record of 14,811 units sold," said Chua Chor Hoon, head of Southeast Asia research at property advisers DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.

Property purchases in August, a traditionally slow month for sales in Singapore, are still going strong with some projects sold out or close to selling out within one or two weeks of launch, she noted.

"The general mood is that the worst is over and better times are coming. So buying activity will continue to be strong, unless there is a shock," Chua added.

The government has warned that it may have to intervene if a property bubble forms due to speculation although most analysts do not expect any drastic measures unless housing prices spiral out of ordinary families' reach.

Singapore's economic output is forecast to shrink by 4 to 6 per cent this year, but the city-state is now technically out of recession and back on a growth path.


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