Singapore March Home Sales Drop to 3-Month Low as Prices Decline

Singapore’s March home sales dropped to a three-month low as first-quarter private residential prices fell the most in five years.

Home sales slid 83 percent to 480 units last month compared with 2,793 in the same period a year ago, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority released today. Sales fell 35 percent from February, the data showed.

Singapore’s first-quarter home prices slid for a second consecutive quarter as tighter mortgages cooled demand in Asia’s second-most expensive housing market, data released by the URA on April 1 showed. The government introduced loan measures in June as it widened a campaign that started in 2009 to curb speculation in the Southeast Asian city.

“With the curbs in place, buyers have become more price sensitive and selective,” said Nicholas Mak, an executive director at SLP International Property Consultants in Singapore. “Lower sales will be the new norm.”

Among the developers that began sales of their projects was Metallurgical Corp. of China’s unit MCC Land (Singapore) Pte, which sold 76 of 597 units marketed at its the Santorini project in the east of the island-state, according to the URA.

An index tracking private residential prices fell 1.3 percent to 211.6 points in the three months ended March 31, following a 0.9 percent decline in the previous three-month period, according to preliminary data released by the URA on April 1. The latest drop is the largest since June 2009.

Under the loan framework, lenders must consider a borrower’s debt when granting mortgages, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said last June. Home loans should not lead to a borrower’s total debt-servicing ratio rising above 60 percent and those that do will be considered imprudent, it said.

Mortgage loan growth at 8.4 percent in February was the slowest pace since July 2007, data compiled by Bloomberg based on MAS figures showed.

Singapore was the most-expensive city to buy a luxury home in Asia after Hong Kong, property broker Knight Frank LLP said in a wealth report last month.

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