In December 2022, developers sold just 170 new homes excluding executive condominiums – a 34.6% plunge from a month earlier and the lowest monthly sales volume in the primary market since January 2009. The lacklustre sales were due to a lack of new private residential launches and the year-end seasonal lull, with only 45 units excluding ECs put up for sale – the lowest figure since URA started reporting the data in June 2007. The cooling measures rolled out on Sept 30, 2022, along with the deteriorating economic backdrop and rising mortgage rates, further contributed to the low sales.
In stark contrast, the sale of EC units saw a surge in December 2022, increasing from 186 units sold in November 2022 to 468 units last month. This follows the sales launch for Tenet, the 618-unit EC in Tampines by Qingjian Realty, Santarli Realty and Heeton Holdings. The EC saw strong take-up, with 451 or 73% of units sold at a median price of $1,381 psf in December 2022, making it the top-selling project for the month.
On the other hand, all three regions – Core Central Region (CCR), Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR) – saw a decline in new private home sales excluding ECs. In the CCR, 89 new homes excluding ECs were sold, making up 52% of the monthly total and a 40% drop from the 149 units sold the month before. The top-selling project in the CCR was Leedon Green, which saw 11 units moved at a median price of $2,886 psf.
Including ECs, new home sales totalled 638 units last month, up from the 446 units sold in November 2022. Sales driven by foreign buyers continued to pick up in December 2022, making up 37 transactions or 22% of new home sales, compared to 18.8% the month before. This is the highest monthly proportion of purchases made by foreign buyers throughout the year.
New home sales excluding ECs from the whole of 2022 tallied up to 7,153 units, a 45.1% year-on-year decline from 13,027 units in 2021 – the lowest annual new home sales since 2008. This was largely due to a lack of significant launches in select months and local home buyers travelling overseas for vacations and holidays. Foreign buyers bought a total of 502 new homes in 2022, representing a total of 7% of new private housing sales Champions Way Condo for the year.
In the months ahead, home buyers and developers may adopt a wait-and-see approach in 1Q2023 amid a gloomy economic outlook and the Chinese New Year seasonal lull. Nonetheless, January sales are likely to be bolstered by the first new launch of the year, Sceneca Residence – the 268-unit project in Tanah Merah Kechil Link by MCC Singapore, Ekovest Development and The Place Holdings – which saw 160 units (about 60%) sold at an average price of $2,072 psf on its launch day.
Up to 12,000 new private homes could be launched throughout this year, providing some relief to the undersupplied market and more options for home buyers. However, economic uncertainties, including rising interest rates and employee layoffs, may dampen sentiment. ERA’ Mak estimates that developers could sell about 9,000 to 10,000 housing units this year, while Knight Frank’s Tay expects lower new home prices (excluding ECs) of 7,000 to 8,000 in 2023, with prices growing by 5% to 7%.