Singapore Home Sales Post Weakest Start to a Year Since 2009

Singapore home sales posted the weakest start to a year since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis government lending curbs stemmed purchases.

Developers sold just 372 units last month, the lowest January sales since 2009, when they offloaded 108 homes, according to data by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. In December, 230 units were sold, the data showed.

Singapore’s annual home sales dropped to a six-year low in 2014 as property policies hurt buying sentiment. Sales fell by half to 7,316 units from 2013, the lowest number since 2008, according to data from the authority.

“Singapore is facing headwinds,” Kwek Leng Beng, the billionaire chairman of City Developments Ltd., Singapore’s second-biggest developer, said at a briefing today.

The government began introducing residential property curbs in 2009 with some of the strictest measures implemented in 2013, including a cap on debt at 60 percent of a borrower’s income, higher stamp duties and an increase in real estate taxes. Residential prices fell 4 percent in 2014, the URA figures showed.

Among developers that began offering projects was Ladyhill Pvt., which sold 32 of 50 units at its Marine Blue development in the city’s east, according to the authority. EL Development (Yishun) Pte started selling its condominium project with 54 out of 180 units sold, the data showed.

City Developments said in a statement today it expects the environment to remain challenging with the property measures and for home prices to post further declines. Kwek said the high-end residential market may face a turn in one to two years before a “blossom” in three to four years. “I’d be shocked if it takes five to six years,” he said.

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