Updated: 08/16/2014 00:32

484 private homes sold in July: URA

484 private homes sold in July: URA

Demand for new private homes remained flat in July as only 484 units were sold by private developers. 

That's according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, or URA. 

Although analysts are slightly surprised that demand didn't pick up from June, which they say saw lower sales due to the World Cup and school holidays, they attribute July's flat transaction volume mainly due to a lack of large-scale launches, which are developments of 400 units and above. 

But they expect sales volume to improve from the end of August to November. 

That's the period right after the hungry ghost month, up till the beginning of the year-end school holidays. 

Still, Managing Director of Chesterton's Donald Han says that developers are unlikely to be too aggressive with new launches as buyers remain thin on the ground. 

But there are pockets of strong demand, and for the month of July, Mr Han pointed out that one-third of all project sales were for homes that cost a median of $2,000 and above per square foot. 

Notably, The Vermont on Cairnhill sold its remaining 37 units, at a median price of $2,113.

Mr Han says sales at this pricing level are being boosted by clever packaging by developers. 

"To lure buyers, you really need to tap on their concerns (such as) whether they're able to rent out their premises. Some developers have taken the advantage of providing the interior fit-out, as well as providing the rental guarantee to lease on behalf of investors. And that have shown to be a good strategy." 

Breaking down the numbers, 88 core central region or CCR homes were sold, with 223 apartments sold on the city fringes. 

Research Head of SLP International, Nicholas Mak points out that while softer CCR prices are starting to pull in some buyers, it's still a niche part of the market. 

"If we were to compare the prices of projects in the CCR against those in other areas, they are still higher. But, for investors who are used to some of the prices in the CCR, some projects are actually starting to approach levels somewhere in 2010, 2011, they may find that it's relatively more attractive. But for the large majority of Singaporeans, it's still beyond their reach." 

Looking ahead, both analysts expect no more than ten thousand units to be sold for the whole of this year, which would be an on-year decline of 40 per cent. 

-By Gwendolyn Goh

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