Ryan Huang from Channel News Asia reports that private property sales in Singapore appear to rebound in October:

Private home sales in the suburban area dropped 25 per cent in October as they appear to have taken a knock with the return of executive condominiums (ECs).

However, growth from other areas lifted overall October sales 16 per cent higher to 1,058 units compared to 911 in the previous month.

The sale of executive condominiums made a return in October after nearly five years. These are mass-market projects built by the private sector but with public-housing restrictions.

They have been hugely popular, with 425 units sold at the Esparina in Buangkok, and 104 units sold at the Canopy in Yishun.

Observers believe that this may have diverted interest away from private home sales in the suburban area, which dipped from 601 units to 452 compared to the previous month.

However, this drop was offset by growth in the prime and city-fringe segments.

Prime area sales grew to 335 units from 84 in September. City fringe sales increased to 271 units from 226.

Excluding ECs, the Glyndebourne at Dunearn Road was the most popular. The project in a prime area sold 112 units at a median price of S$2,149 per square foot. The most expensive new home – sold at $4,800 psf – was a unit in Boulevard Vue.

Dr Chua Yang Liang, Head of Research South East Asia with Jones Lang LaSalle said: “There is still some upside in there in the market that has yet to be capitalised. I think that’s where long term investors who are not affected by policies in the first place are going to.

“They are looking at more long term – they look at the pricing, policy issues, and thinking let’s go in today, high-end side.”

Prices for the high-end segments are generally still 5 per cent below peak levels, while mass-market segments are 10 per cent above the previous highs, according to Jones Lang Lasalle.

Most observers expect monthly volumes and prices to remain at current levels until the rest of the year.

But there may be an upside with increased optimism about the economy, and the return of investors from the sidelines following the government’s recent cooling measures for the property market.

Tay Huey Ying, Director of Research and Advisory with Colliers International, expects similar sales levels for November and December.

“Underpinned by the still rosy economic outlook, buying interest has returned plus the fact that interest rates remain attractively, the stock market remains buoyant, I think this in a way has in a way supported sales volume for October.

“The October healthy sales figure could be just the confidence boost for November and December to chalk up relatively same sales volume of above a thousand units and if this is the case. If sales volume for high-end segment continue to come in strong, there’s a possibility that this could put pressure on prices, but on a islandwide basis, we are looking at 2% rise for final quarter of this year.”

For 2010, experts like Li Hiaw Ho, an Executive Director with CBRE Research, expect the URA price index to increase by around 15 per cent.

They are forecasting at least 14,500 units to be sold this year, with a chance of breaking the 2007 record of 14,811 units.

The October URA numbers would bring the year-to-date total sales volume to 13,365 units – just under 4 per cent from the same period last year.


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