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Singapore's New Home Sales Plummet by 66% Amid Cooling Measures and Market Uncertainty

Singapore's new home sales plunge 66% year-on-year in April, amid high interest rates and government cooling measures.

By Barry Stearns

5/15, 02:35 EDT
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Key Takeaway

  • Singapore's new home sales plummeted by 66% year-over-year in April, with only 301 units sold due to high interest rates and cooling measures.
  • Developers are delaying launches, with a 68% drop in private residential launches in April, amid market uncertainty and upcoming condo influx.
  • Despite government cooling measures and muted launch demand, private home prices rose for three consecutive quarters.

Market Downturn

April witnessed a significant decline in new home sales in Singapore, with developers selling 301 units, a stark contrast to the 718 units sold in March. This represents a 66% decrease from the same period last year, as reported by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The downturn is attributed to several factors including high interest rates, a series of cooling measures aimed at dampening foreign buying interest, and an anticipated influx of over 10,000 condos and apartments set to enter the market later this year.

Nicholas Mak, chief research officer at Mogul.sg, noted a substantial decrease in private residential launches in April, down 68% from March. He suggested that developers are strategically timing their launches to maximize prices, indicating a cautious approach in a fluctuating market.

Cooling Measures and Leadership Transition

The Singaporean government's cooling measures have been a significant factor in the market's current state, with no major shifts expected soon. Lawrence Wong, the incoming premier and former head of the national development ministry, is anticipated to maintain a steady course regarding property policy. This comes at a time when housing affordability remains a critical issue ahead of the general election, with the People’s Action Party at the helm.

Despite these measures, private home prices in Singapore have continued to rise for three consecutive quarters, suggesting a resilient underlying demand among certain buyer segments.

Muted Demand for New Projects

April also saw muted demand for new property launches. A notable example is a freehold project by Kheng Leong Co., linked to Singapore’s wealthiest banking dynasty, which sold only four of its 14 units, each fetching more than S$14 million ($10 million). Another development managed to sell just three of its 59 units during its launch weekend, highlighting the selective nature of buyers in the current market environment.

Street Views

  • Nicholas Mak, Mogul.sg (Neutral on Singapore's property market):

    "Developers are trying to time their launches to achieve optimal prices."