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New condo launches J’den, Hillock Green and Watten House supercharged November private home sales

SINGAPORE – The successful launch of suburban condominiums – J’den in Jurong East, Hillock Green in Lentor Central and luxury prime district project Watten House – snapped three past months of tepid private home sales, powering a rebound in November.

Pent-up demand, fuelled by an absence of new launches in September and October, sent sales surging 286 per cent from October to a four-month high of 784 units in November.

The three new projects accounted for nearly 73 per cent of November’s overall sales. Year on year, sales were up threefold.

Pent-up demand due to the scarcity of new launches in Jurong East and the growth potential of Jurong Lake District helped CapitaLand Development’s 368-unit J’den set a new benchmark median price of $2,475 per square foot (psf) for suburban private housing projects, analysts noted.

Excluding executive condominiums (EC), developers placed 970 new units for sale, up from 54 in October, with J’den, Hillock Green and Watten House in Bukit Timah making up 97 per cent of all units launched in November.

Including ECs, new home sales jumped 257 per cent to 800 units month on month, and rose 79 per cent from 446 units a year ago.

In November, the suburban submarket led sales, with transactions jumping to 539 units from 76 units sold in October, due to J’den – the best-selling new launch in 2023 with more than 89 per cent sold to date – and Hillock Green, PropNex head of research and content Wong Siew Ying said.

Ms Chia Siew Chuin, JLL’s head of residential research for Singapore, noted that the take-up of 132 units, or 27.8 per cent, of Hillock Green’s 474 units was encouraging, considering abundant upcoming supply in the Lentor area.

The largest proportion of sales (28 per cent) in November was in the $1.5 million to $2 million bracket, compared with October when the largest proportion (26 per cent) was in the $2 million to $2.5 million range.

This shift was due largely to sales in J’den and Hillock Green, Ms Chia added.

Watten House’s sales also exceeded expectations despite concerns over the impact of the April cooling measures on sales of its larger and more expensive units.

At its preview in November, 109 units of the 180-unit project in Shelford Road were snapped up at a median price of $3,199 psf due to limited new supply in the vicinity, the project’s freehold status and its proximity to amenities and popular schools, Ms Chia said.

Ms Tricia Song, CBRE’s head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia, called Watten House “a surprise hit, given its hefty quantum of at least $3 million per unit as it comprised larger three- to five-bedroom units with a minimum size of 990 sq ft”.

With no new launches in December due to the seasonal year-end lull, 2023 looks set to finish with the lowest new home sales since 2008 despite the rebound in November.

New home sales in the first 11 months of 2023 fell 9.6 per cent to 6,316 units, from 6,983 units in the same period in 2022, even as the number of new units launched jumped to 7,515 from 4,483 units in the same period in 2022, JLL said.

“Sentiment this year has clearly deteriorated with higher interest rates, softer economic prospects” and the cooling measures, Ms Song said.

November’s rebound is likely the “last hurrah” for the year as sales are expected to be subdued in December, Mogul.sg’s chief research officer Nicholas Mak said.

While a slew of new launches is expected to come onstream in 2024, Mr Mak sees weak market sentiment and soft employment conditions, coupled with Chinese New Year holidays in February, delaying many launches to the second quarter and beyond.

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Furthermore, the expected decline in rental rates, higher property taxes and existing property curbs could weigh on investment demand for residential properties, he said.

But the possibility of interest rates easing in the coming months is a silver lining, as this would translate to lower borrowing costs for homebuyers. And if Singapore’s economy and the employment market improve in 2024, that would help boost housing demand, he added.

Ms Song also expects worries about job security, elevated interest rates and slowing global growth to continue to keep the market cautious in the first half of 2024, potentially weighing on new launch take-up and property price growth.

But the situation could brighten in the second half of 2024 if Singapore’s exports recover and interest rates start to drop. 

“Barring a sharp downturn, we expect property prices to grow at the upper end of the (1 per cent to 3 per cent) range, given the high land costs, strong household balance sheets and limited unsold inventory,” she said.

Developments slated for launch in January 2024 include city fringe projects The Arcady @ Boon Keng and The Hillshore in Pasir Panjang, suburban condos Hillhaven in Hillview Rise and Lentoria in Lentor Hills Road, and Lumina Grand EC in Bukit Batok.

Collectively, these projects can offer more than 830 private residential units and 512 new ECs, PropNex said.

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