Singapore Home Sales Slump 72% to Seven-Month Low on Weak Demand

Singapore’s home sales fell last month to the lowest since January as demand slowed amid a lack of big launches.

(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s home sales fell last month to the lowest since January as demand slowed amid a lack of big launches.

Purchases of new private apartments dropped to 394 units in August, figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed Friday. That’s down 72% from the previous month, when transactions climbed to a more than one-year high of 1,412 on the back of several major launches.

The dip in sales suggests that Singapore’s red-hot property market may finally start to moderate after the nation largely defied a global slowdown from the UK to China. The market has shown signs of easing since authorities raised stamp duties for some buyers in April, with private home prices falling for the first time in three years in the second quarter. 

“The property market could be showing signs of slowing down,” said Nicholas Mak, chief research officer at real estate platform It is “partly due to the slower economic growth, stubbornly high interest rates, the effects of the cooling measures and the shadows of further policy risk.” 

Developers are focusing on pushing sales in already-launched projects, most of which still have unsold units, Mak said.

Among the new launches, TMW Maxwell — a joint venture by Chip Eng Seng Corp. and others near the city-state’s central business district — sold just six of its 324 units last month, marking the lowest take-up among major projects this year.

“Buyers might be more selective due to economic uncertainty and increasing choices, leading to lower take-up at launch,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Ken Foong, adding that developers are taking longer to sell out their projects. 

He expects new home sales to “stay healthy” in the second half, albeit below the boom in the first half and in 2022. “New launches may still be appealing versus preowned homes amid high interest rates as buyers can pay in stages,” Foong said.

In a bid to maintain affordability, authorities doubled stamp duties for foreign buyers to 60% — the highest among major markets — and raised them for second homebuyers in late April.

Another reason why sales slowed in August was because the lunar seventh month started then, said Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie. The period is deemed by some buyers to be an inauspicious time to make a big-ticket item purchase, according to Sun.

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