New private home sales rose in 2016 as prices fell

Sales of new private homes defied forecasts and rose last year as upbeat buyers ventured back into the market to take advantage of lower prices and still-low interest rates.

New private home sales rose in 2016 as prices fall

Developers sold 8,136 new units last year – 9.4 per cent more than the 7,440 shifted in 2015. The numbers exclude new executive condominiums (ECs). Sales last year also exceeded the 7,300 or so units transacted in 2014.

Many property experts had tipped 2016 as a slow year for real estate, given the slower economy and the cooling measures in place, but buyers leapt at the chance to snag units at lower prices.

Private home prices have been slipping in the past three years – falling by 3 per cent last year, 3.7 per cent in 2015 and 4 per cent in 2014 – in the wake of a raft of cooling measures.

Only 367 new homes were sold – a 57.3 per cent drop from the 860 new units transacted in November, and 4.4 per cent lower than the transactions in December 2015.

The decline came as developers launched just 90 new homes, compared with 1,363 launched in November, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday. It was the lowest number of new units launched in two years.

Despite the December slump, 2,480 new units were sold for the quarter, the strongest quarterly volume last year, said consultancy JLL