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Singapore home sales jump fivefold to highest level this year

The Riverfront Residences residential project in Singapore, on Sunday, June 4, 2023. Photographer: Lionel Ng/Bloomberg
The Riverfront Residences residential project in Singapore, on Sunday, June 4, 2023. Photographer: Lionel Ng/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

By Selina Xu

(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s home sales rebounded last month to the highest level in more than a year, as buyers brushed aside rising interest rates and the government’s latest cooling measures.

Purchases of new private apartments jumped fivefold to 1,412 units in July from 278 the previous month, figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed Tuesday. That’s the most since November 2021, when more than 1,500 homes were sold after the city-state eased Covid restrictions.

Bloomberg
Bloomberg (Source: Urban Redevelopment Authority)

Singapore’s housing market has remained buoyant even as other countries from Canada to the UK struggle with slumping sales due to rising borrowing costs and inflation. But the red-hot market has shown signs of easing, with private home prices falling for the first time in three years in the second quarter.

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Developments launched in July saw robust sales. The 1,008-unit Grand Dunman sold more than half of its apartments last month. Lentor Hills Residences — a joint venture by Hong Leong Holdings Ltd. and others — offloaded 55% of its 598 units in July.

“Developers brought forward their sales launches ahead of the lunar seventh month, which is deemed by some buyers to be an inauspicious period to make a big-ticket item purchase,” said Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie. August sales may be lower due to a lack of large project launches, and figures in the remaining months are likely to be “volatile,” she said.

In April, the government doubled stamp duties for foreign buyers to 60% — the highest among major markets — and also raised levies for second-home buyers. Since then, local buyers have spurred the bulk of sales. The portion of new private apartments bought by Singaporeans reached an almost two-year high at 85% in the second quarter, according to Singapore-based PropNex Realty’s analysis of data.

While local buyers remain undeterred, total foreign purchasing of new private apartments in the second quarter slumped by 23% to 109 units, from 141 in the previous three months, PropNex said.

“With the moderation in demand from foreign investors, local buyers will face less competition,” said Ismail Gafoor, chief executive officer of PropNex. He expects prices to grow 4%-5% for the whole of 2023, supported by a slew of new launches in the coming months.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.