SINGAPORE: Sales of new private homes in August were driven by an executive condominium (EC) project in Bukit Batok amid a dip in sales due to the lack of new launches and the lunar seventh month.
Altura at Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 – the first EC launch in the area in more than 20 years – sold 225 out of 360 units, or 62.5 per cent of the entire project during its launch month in August. The last project launch in Bukit Batok, The Dew, was in May 2001.
The project also happens to be the first and only EC launched this year.
There had not been an EC in Bukit Batok for 22 years and many buyers were looking forward to it, said Huttons Asia senior director Lee Sze Teck.
“Buyers appreciate the quality finishes and facilities in Altura which are comparable to private residential homes but at a more affordable price.”
OrangeTee & Tie’s senior vice president of research and analytics Christine Sun echoed the sentiment that the project was well received as it was the area’s first new EC project in two decades.
“ECs remain popular for their affordability and investment value,” she noted.
EC demand remains resilient, translating to a strong take-up rate during launch weekends despite higher prices, said Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty Network.
For instance, Copen Grand and Tenet, launched in 2022, are completely sold and there are no other EC launches expected for the rest of the year, he added.
DIP IN PRIVATE HOME SALES
The new private homes market was muted in August after a “blistering month of July”, said Mr Lee.
According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), excluding ECs, units sold fell by 72.1 per cent from more than a one-year high of 1,412 units in July to 394 units in August.
The figure was also a 10 per cent decrease from the 438 units sold in the same month last year.
New home sales dipped in August as there were no major project launches, said Ms Sun.
Although five new projects, including the Bukit Batok EC, were launched for sale, none had more than 500 units, she added.
Besides Altura, the four other project launches were The LakeGarden Residences, The Arden, Orchard Sophia and TMW Maxwell.
Some buyers stayed on the sidelines as the lunar seventh month started in mid-August, which is “deemed an inauspicious period for purchasing big-ticket items”, said Ms Sun.
Mr Lee also said that the lunar seven month “played a role in the quieter market in August” as some buyers may push back their buying decision until the period is over.
He noted that the project launches only took place in the first half of August with no launches in the second half of the month.
This led to 590 units being launched in August, excluding ECs, which is 72.6 per cent lower than July but 340.3 per cent higher than a year ago, he said, adding that there was no launch during the lunar seventh month in 2022 which spanned almost the entire month of August.
Comparatively, the number of transactions for new launches between January to August is only 5.8 per cent lower than that of the same period last year, Mr Lim said, adding that this indicates “resilient new sale demand”.
“Well-located projects continue to see demand from buyers looking for homes,” he said.
“But notably, there are emerging signs of ‘buyers’ fatigue’ in the face of the higher number of project launches in recent months. The number of new sale units launched in the first eight months of 2023 has more than doubled (117.6 per cent) compared to the same period last year.”