Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

Singapore Home Sales at Highest in a Year as Prices Drop

  • Developers sold 1,091 units last month versus 536 in June
  • Government has said it is reluctant to ease curbs just yet

The number of new homes sold in Singapore rose to the highest in a year in July, with buyers snapping up new projects after almost three years of price declines.

Developers sold 1,091 units last month, compared with 536 in June, according to data released Monday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. That’s the highest since July 2015, when 1,655 units were sold.

Singapore’s government has been steadfast in its commitment to cool the housing market, maintaining real estate tightening measures rolled out since 2009 even as the city-state’s home prices dropped for an 11th quarter. An index tracking private residential prices fell 0.4 percent in the three months ended June 30 from the previous quarter, capping the longest series of quarterly losses since 1975 when prices were first published, according to data from the URA last month.

It is too early to relax the curbs, as doing so could result in a market rebound, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in February, while Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat reiterated that view in his budget speech in March, saying it was “premature” to loosen the restraints.

Nicholas Mak of SLP International Property Consultants warned that the data series is volatile and there will be fewer projects offered in coming months because the government sold less land to developers in 2015.

“However, buyers will still be interested as there will be a gentle decline in prices this year,” said Singapore-based Mak, an executive director at SLP. He also said he doesn’t see major changes to the government’s curbs over the next 18 months.

Home values have dropped 9.4 percent from the peak in September 2013.

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