New Private Home Sales Drops 34.6% in December 2022, HDB Completes The Most Flats in 5 Years in 2022, And More

16th January to 25th January 2023

Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data shows that new private home sales declined 34.6% month-on-month and 73.8% year-on-year to 170 units in December 2022. Meanwhile, the HDB completed 20,000 flats in 2022, its largest annual number of flats in the last five years.


1. New private home sales drop 34.6% in December 2022

Private home sales, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), declined 34.6% month-on-month and 73.8% year-on-year to 170 units in December, showed URA data.

Experts noted that this is the lowest monthly home sales posted since January 2009, when 108 units were sold. They attributed the pullback in sales largely to the lack of major launches and the year-end seasonal lull.

It is also noteworthy that the latest round of cooling measures, which included raising the interest rate floors for Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) and Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) of home loans by 0.5%, came into effect on 30 September 2022.

Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE) said December 2022’s sales figure takes new developer sales for 2022 to 7,153 units, down 45.1% from 13,027 units in 2021 – or the lowest new home sales since 2008 when 4,264 units were shifted.

Among the three market segments, the Core Central Region (CCR) continued to see healthy sales, with 89 units sold or 52.4% of December 2022’s total sales.

“This is the third month that sales in the CCR accounted for more than half of the monthly sales,” said Huttons Asia.

The Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR) accounted for 31.8% and 15.9%, with 54 units and 27 units sold, respectively.


2. HDB completes 20,000 flats in 2022, the highest in five years


Seja Residence, Source: HDB

HDB completed 20,000 flats in 2022, its largest annual number of flats in the last five years, reported CNA citing HDB.

This figure is 50% higher than the number of HDB flats completed in 2021.

HDB revealed that it completed 22 housing projects in 2022, which is also the highest number of housing projects to be completed over the past five years. It noted that it is on track to match 2022’s figures for both flats and projects in 2023.

HDB added that it is closely working with construction partners as well as other Government agencies to complete all projects affected by delays associated with COVID-19, “as soon as possible.”

“Unlike other industries which may have rebounded fully from the effects of the pandemic, time is needed to clear BTO construction delays and we continue to double down on this effort,” said Tan Meng Dui, the CEO of HDB.

“We know it has not been easy for flat buyers who have been affected by the delays, and we thank them for their understanding and patience,” he added.


3. More than 700 families in rental flats acquired homes in 2022

More than 700 households living in public rental flats have acquired homes in 2022, with some tapping the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, reported The Straits Times citing HDB.

For the last 10 years, over 7,800 rental households have also acquired homes, with 2,300 having booked units and are waiting for their flats to be completed.

Of the over 700 households, seven in 10 purchased a flat from HDB, while the rest went for resale units. Around two-thirds received grants, like the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) of up to $80,000.

Majority of the households purchased a 3- or 4-room flats located within non-mature estates. HDB noted that such households used a quarter or less of their monthly incomes to pay for their home loans.

Among those who acquired a home under the Fresh Start Housing Scheme was Madam Lee Ah Mui, who recently spent Chinese New Year for the first time in her own home.

“I can finally invite family and friends over for the new year. When I was living in a rental flat, everything was too messy. Now, I can be proud of my own home as it’s renovated and more beautiful,” she said.


4. Meyer Park relaunched for en bloc sale at lower $390 million reserve price

Meyer Park has been relaunched for collective sale, with the reserve price lowered to $390 million, revealed sole marketing agent Edmund Tie.

This works out to a land rate of about $1,660 per sq ft (PSF), inclusive of an estimated Land Betterment Charge of around $90.9 million.

Located at 81 and 83 Meyer Road, the freehold development in District 15 occupies a 8,981 sq m (96,672 sq ft) site that is zoned for ‘Residential’ use under the 2019 Master Plan with a plot ratio of 2.8.

“Including a 7% bonus floor area, the maximum allowable gross floor area works out to approximately 26,907 sq m (289,628 sq ft),” said Edmund Tie.

The tender for Meyer Park closes on 8 February 2023.


5. Singapore Land Authority (SLA) to take over management of state land within HDB estates from 1 March 2023

Jurong Lake District

From 1 March, the management of all state land located within HDB estates will be handed over to the SLA, announced the HDB and SLA in a joint statement.

They noted that the consolidation of land management functions to SLA will allow for greater administrative and operational efficiency.

Notably, SLA will take over “the maintenance, feedback as well as the issuance of Temporary Occupation Licences (TOLs) for the use of these state lands within HDB estates for religious and community events, as well as for communal facilities such as multi-purpose courts,” said the agencies.

“All key terms and conditions of licences or tenancy agreements issued by HDB, and prevailing as of the transfer date, will remain unchanged,” they added.

Currently, HDB manages and maintains around 1,408 hectares of state land in HDB estates as well as manages around 600 TOLs.


6. Downward adjustments in fixed rate home loans seen at some banks

Fixed rate home loans at some banks appeared to have declined, with OCBC offering two-year fixed rate mortgages at 4.25%, down from 4.3% previously, reported CNA.

The rate for three-year fixed mortgages, on the other hand, stood at 3.9%, down from 4% previously. The decline in rates were part of the bank’s ‘promotional rates’ rolled out in mid-December.

However, OCBC is the only local bank to have reduced its fixed rate home loan offerings since November 2022, when it along with UOB and DBS, raised mortgage rates beyond 4% after a steep interest rate hike by the United States Federal Reserve.

Among foreign lenders, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank were observed to have made some downward adjustments to their mortgage rates, said PropertyGuru.

Two-year fixed rate packages at Standard Chartered are now offered at 3.85%, down from 4.5% in late-November.

PropertyGuru pointed that two-year fixed rate home loans for Citibank’s Citigold members, who are taking a minimum loan of $800,000, have also declined to 3.85% from December’s 4%.

Related article: Fixed Vs Floating Rate Home Loans in Singapore: How to Pick the Right One (2023)


7. Construction of Cross Island Line (CRL) begins

Construction work on Phase 1 of the CRL commenced on 18 January 2023, revealed the LTA.

Notably, the CRL will be constructed and opened in three phases.

Spanning 29km, CRL Phase 1 will feature 12 stations starting from Aviation Park to Bright Hill.

“This will serve residential and industrial areas such as Loyang, Hougang and Ang Mo Kio. CRL Phase 1 will be linked to East-West Line at Pasir Ris station, North-East Line at Hougang station, North-South Line at Ang Mo Kio station and Thomson-East Coast Line at Bright Hill station,” said LTA.

Once fully completed, the CRL will be the eighth and longest fully-underground MRT line of Singapore at over 50km long.

LTA noted that its projected ridership is over 600,000 during the initial years from 2030, rising to more than one million in the longer term.

Related article: Jurong Region Line (JRL): What the Upcoming JRL Means for Singaporeans (2023)


8. Resale volume to continue to slow down amid rising interest rates

RHB bank expects resale volume in Singapore to continue to slow down as new home sales fell short of its expectations at 7,834 units, reported Singapore Business Review citing RHB.

For this year, it sees new home sale volume rising up to 8,000 to 9,000 units, but it will still be affected by pricing expectation mismatch as well as rising interest rates.

“We expect resale volume to be 5%-20% year-on-year lower in 2023,” it said in its brokerage report.

Over at the developers’ front, RHB expects their earnings to be supported by healthy pre-sales and investment income.

Despite rising interest rate pressures, it expects the local residential market to remain resilient this year.


9. Prime retail rent to grow by 3% to 5% in 2023

orchard road singapore

Prime retail rent in Singapore is forecasted to grow between 3% and 5% in 2023, provided no quarantine requirements for cross border arrivals and size limits to gatherings are put in place.

Knight Frank said the growth will be led by the shopping belt at Orchard Road.

Prime retail rents island-wide averaged $26.10 per sq ft per metre (PSF pm), or up 1.7% quarter-on-quarter in Q4 2022. For the whole of 2022, rents increased 2.6%.

It noted that suburban malls weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than those within the Central Area.

However, it was the Orchard area which registered the highest increase in retail rents, rising 3.1% year-on-year to $29.10 PSF pm in Q4 2022, amid the steady flow of international visitors. The Marina Centre, City Hall and Bugis regions followed with rents climbing 2.6% year-on-year to $23.90 PSF pm during the quarter.

Meanwhile, Edmund Tie revealed that rents for first-storey retail space within the fringe/suburban areas increased 1.5% quarter-on-quarter to $33.10 PSF pm in Q4 2022. On an annual basis, rents grew 6.7%.


10. Hoe Chiang Road and Lim Teck Kim Road commercial site up for collective sale at $216 million

A commercial site at Hoe Chiang Road and Lim Teck Kim Road has been launched for collective sale with a reserve price of $216 million, revealed marketing agent PropNex Realty.

Lim Teck Kim Road

Lim Teck Kim Road, Source: PropNex

The 999-year leasehold site comprises two rows of commercial buildings and a remnant land in between, bringing the total estimated land area to 1,722.5 sq m (18,540 sq ft).

The reserve price translates to a land rate of $2,602 per sq ft per plot ratio (PSF ppr) for an office development, including the estimated Land Betterment Charge (LBC) of $54.1 million.

PropNex noted that the buyer can also redevelop the site as a hotel – which will see the reserve price work out to a land rate of $2,662 psf ppr, including the estimated land betterment charge of $60.4 million.

The collective sale tender for the site closes on 22 March 2023.

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