After Singapore home prices dropped for the first time in over three years during the second quarter, the first major project launches of 2023’s second half met with cooler responses from homebuyers facing new prospects for housing choice in what has been Asia’s hottest housing market.
About 299 condos at Lentor Hills Residences — equivalent to half of the Lentor estate project’s capacity — changed hands over the weekend at average prices of just over S$2,000 ($1,483) per square foot, PropNex Realty announced late Sunday.
While the second project to hit the market in the recently established estate was the biggest seller in the Lion City during Saturday and Sunday, it fell well short of the performance of the first development in the area, GuocoLand’s Lentor Modern, which achieved an 84 percent take-up rate during its launch weekend in September last year.
The other project to hit the market on Saturday, City Developments Ltd’s The Myst in Bukit Timah found buyers for just 27 percent, or 110 out of the 408 units made available, however, analysts found the results commendable as more homes begin to enter the market and buyers still face hefty stamp duty increases rolled out in April.
“In our view, the sales for both The Myst and Lentor Hills Residences over the weekend were encouraging, in view of the steady supply of new projects still to be launched from later this month, and beyond,” said Ismail Gafoor, chief executive officer of PropNex.
Singapore’s red-hot housing market showed signs of slowing last quarter after the government hiked taxes in April in an effort to restrict property sales. During the April through June period Singapore home sales were down 30 percent from the first three months of the year, with home prices falling for the first time in more than three years, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Despite that slowdown, prices at Lentor Hills Residences started from S$1,834 per square foot, or about S$945,000 for a one-bedroom condo and S$1.36 million for two-bedroom units, which was roughly on par with a neighbouring project launched in the area last year.
The one and two-bedroom homes accounted for 70 percent of overall sales at Lentor Hills Residences as lower sticker prices kept the homes accessible to a broader range of buyers.
GuocoLand, together with Hong Leong and its TID Residential joint venture with Japan’s Mitsui Fudosan, are developing Lentor Hills Residences as a set of five towers of eight to 23 storeys each on a site they won early last year for S$587 million.
The project sits directly opposite the future Hillock Park and will be connected to both the Lentor MRT station and the mall component of the Lentor Modern integrated development.
At its launch in September last year, GuocoLand’s Lentor Modern sold homes at prices from S$1,856 to S$2,538 per square foot, with that project now 90 percent sold.
Gafoor said sales at Lentor Hills Residences were within market expectations and could be considered “commendable,” as some buyers may be waiting to see what’s available in upcoming project launches.
“Overall, we believe that the healthy take-up rate reflects the resilient underlying demand for new private homes amongst homeowners, and that there is still ample liquidity in the market,” he said. “The project’s developer had also priced units more sensitively, considering the more muted economic outlook, persistently high interest rates, and cautious sentiments in the market.”
The performance for the mid-market joint venture in the Ang Mo Kio area outpaced more disappointing take-up over the weekend at CDL’s The Myst in the Bukit Timah neighbourhood, where only 27 percent of the units made available, or 110 out of 408 homes, were sold during its two-day debut.
CDL said on Sunday that buyers paid an average of S$2,057 per square foot for homes in the Myst, with about 99 percent being local Singaporeans. The one- and two-bedroom condos, which were priced at from S$998,000 to S$1.33 million, proved to be the biggest sellers.
“The encouraging take-up for The Myst by local homebuyers reflects a resilient demand for suburban homes,” said CDL group CEO Sherman Kwek. “We are confident that The Myst, with its attractive pricing, will continue to be an excellent choice for those seeking the best of both worlds – a luxurious resort-style sanctuary with strong locational attributes.”
The project comprises two 24-storey residential towers located within 10 minutes’ walk of the Cashew MRT station and the Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub.
Gafoor said the weekend sales for the two newly launched projects varied because of their locations and their attributes.
A take-up of 27 percent in The Myst was deemed “respectable” considering the performance of two previous launches in the same district this year, with The Reserve Residences and The Botany at Dairy Farm having sold a combined total of over 800 new units as of 1 July, he said citing official records.
The launch of Lentor Hills, on the other hand, benefitted from the pent-up demand in the area and less competition with Lentor Modern now 90 percent sold, said Lam Chern Woon, research and consulting head at Edmund Tie.
“Every project has their unique characteristics and selling propositions. Looking at the two projects, both are priced competitively and enjoy proximity to MRT stations and retail amenities,” he added.
Gafoor expects more buyers to consider purchases at The Myst after evaluating their options in upcoming launches.
Also commencing sales this month are the 520-unit Pinetree Hill by UOL Group and its Singapore Land subsidiary in Bukit Timah and SingHaiyi Group’s 1,008-unit Grand Dunman project in Tanjong Katong.