Private Residential Market – Real Estate Data Trend Q1 2019
- Demand for new homes excluding executive condominiums (EC) remained robust as developer home sales rose 16.3 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) and 0.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q).
- Deep-pocketed buyers seem to be streaming back to the luxury market as new non-landed home sales in the Core Central Region (CCR) rose 82.4 per cent q-o-q to 186 units in Q1.
- The number of Singaporeans purchasing non-landed luxury homes have increased, with 69.4 per cent new homes in CCR being bought by locals.
- Rentals of private homes excluding ECs rose 1.0 per cent while occupancy rates improved for homes in the CCR and Rest of Central Region (RCR).
New home sales remained robust
Singaporeans’ deep-seated desire for home ownership and property investment has sustained buying interest of private homes in the primary market. Based on URA quarterly data, developers moved 1,838 new homes excluding executive condominiums (ECs) in the first quarter of this year, 16.3 per cent higher y-o-y and 0.1 per cent q-o-q.
In contrast, the total number of resales fell sharply by 49.3 per cent y-o-y and 5.7 per cent q-o-q to 1,858 units in Q1. As a result, overall transaction volume fell 3.0 per cent q-o-q and 29.7 per cent to 3,743 units in the first quarter of this year.
Deep-pocketed buyers seemed to be streaming back to the luxury market as the number of homes sold in the CCR rose 27.6 per cent q-o-q to 625 units in Q1 (Page 4). Buying interest for mass market condos has also risen (Page 6), with Treasure at Tampines, Affinity at Serangoon, Riverfront Residences and The Florence Residences being the best performing projects in Q1 2019 (Table1).
Rents of private homes rose 1.0 per cent in Q1 2019, compared with a 1.0 per cent decrease in the preceding quarter. Another bright spot was seen in vacancy rates of completed private residential homes (excluding ECs) which decreased a sixth consecutive quarter to a five-year low of 6.3 per cent (Page 8).
According to URA realis data (25 April 2019), non-landed home prices excluding ECs rose across all market segments y-o-y in Q1 2019; with CCR and RCR increasing 7.7 per cent, and OCR rising 9.2 per cent (Table 2).
The proportion of new luxury homes bought by Singaporeans increased significantly in Q1 2019 (69.4 per cent) (Chart 1). The increasing number of affluent locals purchasing luxury homes indicates their confidence that Singapore remains a safe haven for capital preservation and appreciation.
Demand for new luxury condos above S$3,000 remained robust with 47 units being sold in Q1 this year, which is similar to the 49 units sold in Q4 2018. Super luxury home sales at S$3,500 psf and above have also surged with 25 transactions inked, the highest number since Q4 2007 (Chart 2).
The 25 super luxury homes were from the new projects Boulevard 88 and 3 Cuscaden. A 528 sqm 28th floor units at Boulevard 88 was also transacted at S$28 million or S$4,927 psf, the highest unit price for a new home since June 2013.
Chart 1 Spike in number of new luxury homes bought by Singaporeans
A significant pick-up in buying interest was observed for new luxury home sales. According to URA realis data, sales volume of new non-landed homes in CCR rose 82.4 per cent q-o-q to 186 units in Q1 2019 (Chart 3) from 102 units in Q4 2018, the highest number recorded since Q4 2017.
While the URA price index for CCR showed a 3.0 per cent q-o-q dip in Q1, an analysis of URA realis data reveals that the price decline could be attributed to a larger proportion of new luxury home sales (74.7 per cent) being sold below S$3,000 psf in Q1, as opposed to Q4 2018 (52.0 per cent), which may have resulted in a lower weighted average price for CCR, and hence the drop in price index.
According to URA realis data, the number of non-landed new home sales in the RCR rose 40.9 per cent y-o-y from 445 units in Q4 2018 to 627 units in Q1 this year (Chart 6).
However, on a quarterly basis, new home sales dipped 37.2 per cent q-o-q to 627 units in Q1, possibly due to a lack of major launches and slower sales activities after the year-end holidays and during the Chinese New Year period.
New home sale prices continue to hold steady at S$1,724 psf in Q1 while resale prices dipped 1.5 per cent to S$1,377 psf. We would expect prices of new homes to hold steady as sales have been robust at most existing launches.
The best-selling new projects in RCR in Q1 include The Tre Ver (196 units), Stirling Residences (98 units), Parc Esta, (92 units), Mayfair Gardens (36 units), Kent Ridge Hill Residences (31 units), Margaret Ville (28 units) and Jadescape (25 units).
Buying interest for condos in the mass market segment has picked-up as the number of non-landed home sales in OCR rose 52.4 per cent q-o-q to 957 units in Q1 (Chart 9) according to URA realis data. The stellar sales can be mainly attributed to the launch of a few mega projects like Treasure at Tampines and The Florence Residences.
The best-selling projects in the review quarter include Treasure at Tampines (288 units), Affinity at Serangoon (176 units), Riverfront Residences (120 units), The Florence Residences (75 units), Parc Botannia (72 units), Whistler Grand (57 units), The Tapestry (52 units) and The Garden Residences (49 units).
The secondary market has also seen firm sales with 745 resale homes being inked in Q1. Launches at district 19 such as Affinity at Serangoon, Riverfront Residences, the Florence Residences and The Garden Residences may have sustained interest at some completed projects in the vicinity like The Minton, Bartley Residences, Parc Vera and Kovan Residences.
New launches at Treasure at Tampines, The Tapestry and The Alps Residences in districts 18 and 19, may have also raised buying interest of resale homes at Ripple Bay, Melville Park, D’Nest, Livia, Q Bay Residences and The Palette.
Similarly, there was demand for homes at completed projects like Blue Horizon, The Parc Condominium, Carabelle, The Vision, The Trilinq and Varsity Park Condominium in district 5, which could also be due to the launch of nearby projects like Whistler Grand, Kent Ridge Hill Residences and Twin Vew.
According to URA data, rents of private homes rose 1.0 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with the 1.0 per cent decrease in the preceding quarter.
A recovery of rents was observed for non-landed homes in CCR and OCR where rents rose 1.6 per cent and 1.7 per cent q-o-q respectively, the largest increases seen since Q4 2010.
According to URA realis data, the number of leasing transactions rose 5.2 per cent q-o-q and 4.9 per cent y-o-y (Chart 12). Another bright spot was seen in occupancy rates of completed private residential homes (excluding ECs) which increased a sixth consecutive quarter to a 5-year high of 93.7 per cent.
Occupancy rates continued to rise in CCR (92.4 per cent) and RCR (93.2 per cent) on the back of lesser available residential units in Q1.
Singaporeans continued to form the lion’s share of property buyers in Q1. Based on URA Realis data, 78.7 per cent of non-landed homes (all sales types) were bought by Singaporeans, which is the highest proportion recorded since Q1 2009 (Chart 15).
Foreign buyers from China, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and USA retained their positions with the most transactions in Q1 2019 when compared to the previous quarter.
Korean and Taiwanese buyers have also risen in the rankings with a higher proportion of homes being bought when compared to previous years (Chart 15).
If the global economy does not deteriorate and the job market remains healthy, overall prices are likely to remain flat or rise marginally this year (Table 5). Afterall, the property cooling measures are still in place and there is an increasing supply of new homes on the cards.
A glimmer of optimism may also be on the horizon as residential projects within the vicinity of upcoming MRT stations along the Cross Island Line and areas marked for further development under the Draft Masterplan 2019 may see an increase in buyer interest and possibly an uplift of prices in the future.