Condo resales in March rise 17% over February but plunge expected in April

SINGAPORE – Resales of private non-landed homes rose 17 per cent in March over the previous month while prices barely moved, according to flash data from real estate portal SRX Property on Tuesday (April 14).

However, compared to a year ago, resale volume was 13 per cent lower and 21 per cent below the 5-year average volume for the month of March.

SRX data showed an estimated 709 units were resold in March compared to 606 units in the prior month. February’s lower-than-average sales were the result of a “triple whammy” of the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese New Year seasonal slowdown and the supply of new units from recent launches.

Giving possible reasons for March’s higher sales, Orange Tee & Tie’s head of research and consultancy Christine Sun some deals could have been closed before the month or were near completion before the escalation of the Covid-19 crisis in late March. Additionally, buyers who were in urgent need of a home could have rushed to seal a deal before stricter safe distancing measures kicked in.

“We may expect sales to slow down next month as house viewings are currently being postponed as a result of the circuit breaker measures,” said Ms Sun.

ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak expects resale volume in April to be a fraction of the typical monthly volume of 600 to 900 units, given the ban on house viewings.

He said: “Even after the lifting of the “circuit breaker” period, economic uncertainties could still keep a lid on property prices and transaction volume. This could also lead to a gradual accumulation of pent-up demand that could spill into the real estate market once the pandemic is contained.”

SRX’s data for March showed overall resale prices edged up 0.1 per cent over February and 0.4 per cent from March 2019.

Commenting on this, Mr Mak said: “This points to the underlying strength in the local real estate market. The numbers suggest that under normal circumstances, where we do not have to worry whether the stranger sitting next to us on the train could be infected by highly contagious pathogen, real estate prices and transaction volume would be rising robustly.

SRX’s data also showed the highest transacted price for a resale unit last month was $10.5 million for a luxury freehold apartment at The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Cairnhill Road.

In the city fringes, a unit at Pebble Bay, a 99-year leasehold condo in Tanjong Rhu, which went for $4.4 million. The most expensive sale in the suburbs in March was a unit at Flamingo Valley, a freehold condo in Siglap Road, which resold for $3.3 million.

Broken down by region, 57.5 per cent of the volume came from outside central region (OCR), 22.9 per cent from the rest of central region (RCR) and 19.6 per cent from the prime districts or core central region (CCR).

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