Singapore home sales drop for second month amid new virus curbs

Purchases of new private apartments in Singapore fell 31% to 834 units in September from 1,216 in August, Urban Redevelopment Authority figures showed on Friday. - Bloomberg

SINGAPORE, Oct 15 (Bloomberg): Singapore home sales fell for a second month as virus curbs steered away buyers and deterred developers from launching new residential projects.

Purchases of new private apartments fell 31% to 834 units in September from 1,216 in August, Urban Redevelopment Authority figures showed on Friday.

The drop reflects how Singapore’s pandemic restrictions imposed on and off since May have finally taken a toll on the residential market.

When cases surged in late September, the government recoiled from a plan to loosen social-distancing measures once 80% of the population are fully vaccinated and instead imposed a new, month-long round of curbs.

Public fears and anxieties over the infection spread -- which reached a daily record of 3,703 cases on Oct. 9 -- also contributed to potential buyers staying away from viewing new homes. Developers too haven’t been launching many new projects given the uncertainty.

In the short term, there will be a more immediate impact on sales rather than prices, said Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie. Singapore’s private home prices climbed 0.9% in the third quarter from the previous three months, government flash estimates showed earlier this month.

Housing market sentiment is likely to remain positive as Singapore gets back on to the path of living with the virus and lifts more restrictions in the coming months, Sun said.

Singapore’s opening up of its borders for vaccinated travelers may bring in more foreign buyers to the market, she said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said recently in a national televised address that the city-state will take at least three to six months to reach a "new normal” where people can mostly resume their routines.

The government said last week that it will allow quarantine-free travel routes with countries including the U.K., the U.S. and Italy and is looking to add more in the coming months. - Bloomberg

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