Huttons’ comments on Feb 2023 developer’s sales

15 March 2023

Developers sold 432 units in February 2023, 9.9% higher than January 2023 but 20.3% lower year-on-year. A total of 401 units were launched for sale, 2.2% lower than January 2023 but 105.6% higher than a year ago.

The marginal increase in Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) on 14 February 2023 did not deter buyers from purchasing a property.
Terra Hill along Yew Siang Road in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) was launched after the increase in BSD. It sold 97 units at a median price of $2,699 psf. Based on caveats, all buyers of Terra Hill had to pay the marginal increase in BSD as all the units sold were above $1.5 million. Buyers are viewing the marginal increase in BSD as a wealth tax and it is not deterring them from buying a residential property.
BSD was also raised on 20 February 2018 on residential property value in excess of $1 million. An analysis of caveats from 4Q 2017 to 2Q 2018 showed that demand and prices for new homes (excl EC) worth $1 million and above were higher after the increase in BSD. 2,031 caveats were lodged for new homes $1 million and above before the increase in BSD in 2018. This increased by 10.4% to 2,242 caveats after the 20 Feb 2018 BSD increase.
Comparison of New Sales (excl EC) before and after BSD increase
Projects in the Core Central Region (CCR) stole the limelight again in February, accounting for 51.4% of total sales despite no new launch in the segment. A total of 222 units were sold in the CCR which was the highest since Oct 2021.
Top 10 Projects by Sales in February
Purchases by foreigners stayed elevated at 12.6% in February 2023. This is above the 7.1% level for the whole of 2022. Based on ground intel, the Chinese are buying some units in the luxury projects in the CCR.
Proportion of Purchase by Foreigners
There was sustained buying by foreigners in February. They picked up 54 units in February, slightly higher than a month ago.
Purchases by Residential Status and Price Range in February
The Botany at Dairy Farm which was launched for sale in March sold 187 units on launch day. The one and two bedrooms were almost sold out. Investors zoomed in on the 1-bedroom units probably for the rental demand from the German European School next door. Owner occupiers were drawn to the tranquil environment and proximity to nature.
The two-bedroom units were almost sold out on launch day because of the smaller family size and general affordability. There were some upgraders who bought the typical 3-bedroom units for more space.
In the next two months, buyers can look forward to Blossoms by the Park, Tembusu Grand, The Continuum and The Reserve Residences.
There are limited big launches in the Katong area. The last comparable launch in terms of land size in the Katong area was Haig Court in 2004. There is potentially pent-up demand for a larger project like Tembusu Grand and The Continuum.
Similarly, there is very limited supply around Blossoms by the Park and The Reserve Residences. Private homes in the one-north area tend to see strong demand and good rents. Blossoms by the Park is less than 300m to Buona Vista MRT station and Fairfield Methodist Primary School is within 1km. The Reserve Residences is an integrated mixed-use development in the heart of Beauty World. It will be directly linked to Beauty World MRT station and is opposite Pei Hwa Primary School. The two projects may potentially sell more than 50% on launch day.
The fallout of SVB is not expected to have a material impact on the property market due to the swift action of the US Government. However, if the US FED decides to slow down the pace of interest rate increase or halt it, it may translate into a more favourable interest rate for local borrowers. It may give a boost to property purchases.
Until there is more clarity, Huttons maintain our sales forecast for 2023 at around 9,000 units with prices increasing up to 5%.