Two months after the new cooling measures kicked in, developers’ sales showed strong underlying demand. From the developer take-up and trends in August and September, we believe there is still ample demand for properties that are well-located and priced realistically.  
 
Developers’ sales jumped 51.1% to 932 units (excluding Executive Condos) in September, from 617 units in August.
 
This shows a quick recovery, similar to the 57% MOM jump to 756 units in August 2013, from the 482 units sold in July 2013, after the eighth round of cooling measures which introduced the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), in June 2013. The jump was due to the 327 units sold at the new launch – JadeScape which was launched at a relatively attractive price (below SGD1,700psf) given its city-fringe location near an MRT station as well as good schools. 
 
On a year-on-year basis, developers' sales were also 41.9% higher than the 657 units recorded in September 2017. This brought the total number of new homes sold to 7,220 in the first nine months of 2018, 20.3% down from 9,054 units transacted over the same period a year ago.
 
1,169 units (excluding Executive Condos) were launched in September, compared to the 534 units launched in August. Developers have resumed launching new projects after the Hungry Ghost festival (ended 9 September) and after recalibrating their pricing strategies.  
 
 
There were six new non-landed launches in September – JadeScape, Mayfair Gardens, The Jovell, Jui Residences, The Addition and Bukit 828. Of these, incidentally, we note the projects with 99-year leaseholds but of larger scale (>200 units) sold better. JadeScape was the top seller in September, with 327 units sold at a median price of SGD1,669 psf.
 
Mayfair Gardens sold 82 units at a median price of SGD1,945 psf. The Jovell, near Changi Airport, sold 41 units at a median price of SGD1,259 psf.
 
Jui Residences, The Addition and Bukit 828 - all with freehold tenures but of smaller scale - sold 9-31 units at median prices of SGD1,704-1,774 psf.  
 
August’s top seller and new launch Tre Ver saw sales momentum slow significantly to 29 units in September from 164 in August, while median price remained stable at SGD1,560 psf, versus SGD1,551 psf in August. This brings the sell-through rate to 26% of total 729 units.
 
July’s top sellers –Stirling Residences, Park Colonial and Riverfront Residences continued to chalk up good sales, of 56-89 units each in September, bringing their sell-through rates to 35-62% of total available units. Selling prices appear to be holding up, compared to that of August and July. 


We believe the new measures – higher additional buyer’s stamp duty and lower loan-to-value limits - implemented on July 06 have put the brakes on rising home prices in Q3 2018. Flash estimates by the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed that private home values rose by 0.5% quarter-on-quarter (QOQ) in Q3 – a much slower pace of QOQ growth compared to increases of 3.4% in Q2 and 3.1% in Q1.
 
Barring an external shock, we expect on average, prices to hold relatively flat for the rest of the year.



Top 10 selling projects in the month of September 2018

 
Source: Colliers International Singapore Research, URA


New launches in the month of September 2018

 

Source: Colliers International Singapore Research, URA


 
Executive Condominiums (ECs)
The unsold inventory of ECs which are a public-private housing hybrid continued to wind down with 12 units sold in September, down from the 23 units shifted in August. As at end-September, only 13 EC units remained unsold.
 
With most ECs already sold out, and the next EC launch likely to be only after June 2019, qualifying buyers are lapping up whatever remains while achieved prices have surpassed SGD900 psf, compared to the launched prices two years ago of SGD750-800 psf. The top selling EC project in September was the 358-unit Northwave which sold four apartments at a median price of SGD919 psf. It has six unsold units as at 30 September.

Outlook
We believe the developer sales in September had surprised on the upside, and reflected strong underlying demand for homes, especially for those that are well-located and priced realistically. 
 
Nonetheless, we are keeping our forecast of a 2018 full year forecast of 8,500-9,000 units (excluding ECs), 15-20% lower than last year's 10,566 units.
 
The strength of takeup depends on the attributes of the upcoming launches and pricing strategies. Some projects that could potentially be launched for sale in Q4 this year include: The Woodleigh Residences, Parc Esta (former Eunos Ville), Kent Ridge Hill Residences and The Mayfair Modern.