top of page

Property Herald: Poorer Sentiments in the Private Housing Market Affected Sales in September

What happened in September


Real estate developers delayed the launch of their new residential projects last month due to growing economic uncertainties and weaker sentiments in the local property market. The poorer market sentiments also adversely affected demand.


Private residential primary market sales contracted 44.9% month-on-month (mom) in September to just 217 units transacted. The private housing primary market sales in September is the lowest number of new sale units transacted in 2023 so far.


There was no major residential project launched last month. Only one residential project located at Pasir Ris was launched in September. Three units in the 23-unit “The Shorefront” were sold at the median price of $1,902 psf, which is quite an attractive price for a 999-year leasehold project.

Launch volume


Real estate developers only released 68 new private housing units for sale last month. This is the second lowest monthly number of private housing units released this year.


The lowest monthly launch volume was in June 2023, when developers only released 31 private housing units. However, despite launching fewer dwelling units in June, they managed to sell 278 units that month, which is more than the 217 units sold in September. This illustrated that market sentiments in September were weaker than four months ago.


Sales in CCR hold up better than the other market segments


Despite the overall contraction in the number of units sold by developers in September, the property sales in the Core Central Region (CCR) held up relatively better than the other two market segments.


The number of private homes sold by developers in the CCR fell by 20.8% mom in September, compared to the 34.0% and 63.0% sales decline in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR) respectively.


Chart 1: Number of private residential property units launched by developers (excluding Executive Condominium)

No of private housing units launched

Source: MOGUL.sg, URA


Chart 2: Number of private residential property units sold by developers (excluding Executive Condominium)

Private housing units sold in primary market

Source: MOGUL.sg, URA


Are foreign homebuyers returning to Singapore


The smaller decline in primary market property sales in the CCR could partly be attributed to the price discounts in some prime condominium projects and partly due to the slight rise in the proportion of units bought by foreigners.


The proportion of private housing units (excluding Executive Condo) bought by foreigners increased from 2.6% in August to 6.0% in the following month. After the introduction of the latest round of cooling measures in April this year, the percentage of private housing units bought by foreigners hit its lowest point in July, constituting only 1.3% of the new housing units sold.


Table 1: Proportion of private residential property units sold by developers (excluding Executive Condominium) based on buyers’ resident status

Private residential units sold by developers

Source: MOGUL.sg, URA


The rise in the percentage of new private housing units bought by foreigners increased last month is also due to the low number of units sold in September and should not be the cause for another round of government intervention.


Since the introduction of the April-2023 cooling measures, the proportion of private homes bought by Singapore citizens increased to above 80% of total number of units transacted. Singaporean homebuyers purchased over 80% of the new housing units sold by developers.


Another sign of a weaker housing market in 3Q 2023


Based on the latest numbers released by URA, the number of new private housing units launched by property developers increased 18.5% in 3Q 2023 to 2,814 units from the preceding quarter. However, the number of private housing units sold by developers fell 4.8% quarter-on-quarter in 3Q 2023 to 2,024 units. The increase in supply is not matched by a corresponding rise in demand.


It can be argued that the drop in demand in the third quarter could be due to the Hungry Ghost Month. However, the primary market sales volume in 3Q 2023 is 7.5% lower than the third quarter of 2022.

In another sign of a weaker housing market, in the first nine months of this year, developers sold 5,407 private housing units (excluding Executive Condominium), which is 15.6% fewer than the primary market sales volume in the corresponding period in 2022.


Outlook


Although there are between twelve and fifteen residential projects with a total of about 3,500 units slated to be launched in the coming months, the majority of them would not be released in the fourth quarter of this year. This is because the last quarter of the year is usually a lull period in the property market due to the school examinations, followed by the year-end school vacation and the Christmas holiday season.


In addition, the rising global geo-political tension and potential economic fall-out from the new war in the Middle east could further dampen sentiments in the property market.


Based on the latest figures, property developers could be on track to sell 6,000 to 7,000 private housing units this year, which is fewer than the 7,099 units sold in 2022.


Due to the 3.6% gain in property prices in the first nine months of this year, the overall private residential property price index could still end the year with a 4% to 6% increase this year.

bottom of page