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After year of history, property market braces for the chills

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Numbers just in show that the property market made history in 2012, with developers selling a record 22,290 private homes, excluding executive condos. The tally, which shattered the previous record of 16,292 units in 2010, was boosted by brisk sales in December when developers offloaded 1,410 units.

But history is unlikely to repeat itself in the wake of last Friday's cooling measures which target investment demand, even by Singaporeans, in addition to foreign buying.

A telling find from the Urban Redevelopment Authority's December numbers is the relatively small contribution from Outside Central Region (OCR)-home to mass-market condos - to both developers' launches and sales last month.

The 1,410 private homes excluding ECs sold in December, OCR's share was 620 units or 44 per cent - the lowest monthly sales quantum and proportion for the region in 2012. In contrast, for the first 11 months of 2012, OCR sales averaged 1,441 units or 75 per cent of the total.

Similarly, of the 1,011 private homes excluding ECs launched last month, only a quarter or 248 units were in OCR - also the lowest monthly figures on both counts for the region last year. In contrast, the average monthly launch and proportion for the preceding 11 months were 1,355 units and 66 per cent respectively.

All eyes now are on response to this Friday's preview of Q Bay Residences, an OCR project at Tampines Avenue 10. A successful outcome could help set a positive tone, say market watchers.?
Though pricing has yet to be finalised, Cheang Kok Kheong, CEO of Frasers Centrepoint Homes, one of the project's three developers, said yesterday evening that the average price is likely to be in the $950-1,000 psf range net of all discounts. "Prior to Friday evening, we were looking at around $1,050 psf," he added.

This reflects the kind of price adjustment many property agents told BT could be necessary to interest buyers amid the harsher new rules.

Property consultants' forecasts of developers' home sales (excluding ECs) this year vary widely, from around 12,000 to 20,000 units. This would be a 10-46 per cent drop from 2012, but even some of those predicting the higher end of the volume drop do not expect a steep price correction this year - citing continued high employment, low interest rates, and the relatively high prices many developers paid for their sites at state tenders last year, among other factors.

Developers last year also found buyers for a record 4,521 ECs, boosted by December's sales of 849 units, which was the highest monthly figure last year. The full-year EC sales number was up 56.8 per cent from 2011, while the December figure was 4.7 times that for the preceding month.

The two new EC launches in December - Citylife@Tampines and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
">The Topiary - contributed to a whopping 1,214 units being launched, or nearly 55 per cent of the 2,225 total homes developers released in December. CityLife@Tampines saw 452 units being sold in December at a median price of $812 psf. At The Topiary in Seletar, 288 units found buyers at a $737 psf median price.

Excluding ECs, December's top-selling project was City Developments' Echelon condo near Redhill MRT, where 331 units changed hands at a median price of $1,768 psf.

In all, developers rolled out 21,487 private homes excluding ECs across Singapore in 2012, up 21.3 per cent from 2011.

Developers are unlikely to hold back launches as they have to stick to project completion deadlines.

Credit from Business Times - 16 January 2013 ? ?
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