Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Launches Of Private Homes In October Drops Almost 80% On-Month

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 17 November 2008

Only 159 private homes were launched in October this year - the lowest in more than a year.

The slide of almost 80 per cent from the 767 units launched in September was due to poor economic conditions, and the technical recession that has hit Singapore.

October's figure was even lower than the 194 units launched in August 2008, which was traditionally a slow period due to the seventh lunar month.

The central region made up almost half of the new launches in October, at 74 units.

The number of new homes sold in October also fell to 112 units from 373 a month ago.

Homebuyers stayed out of the market in October as confidence was shaken by financial turmoil and news of job cuts. And buyers were only willing to spend on properties that offered value for money.

"Price is a factor in today's market. Projects priced well in very good locations have a strong take-up," said the head of research and consultancy at Jones Lang LaSalle, Chua Yang Liang.

Analysts expect the housing market to stay weak.

Dr Chua said: "This pendulum effect we see in supply and demand will continue going into (the) next few months as developers try to ascertain what the demand is. Buyers being sensitive to market news will continue to fluctuate in their behaviour."

Analysts also said new home sales could hit lows not seen since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

"Taking into consideration the continued lack of activity in the next two months going into the end of 2008, we expect total home sales to hit just above 4,000, potentially below 4,500. It will probably be the first time in almost 11 years that new home sales take-up will hit below 5,000," said the managing director of Cushman & Wakefield, Donald Han.

Experts said the earliest recovery could be in mid-2009, if the global economy and stock markets pick up.

Dr Chua said: "We have to see the global economic situation coming to more stable conditions before the buyer market would stabilize. Global economic fundamentals must return (and) stock markets must be predictable." - CNA/yt

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