By Wong Siew Ying | POSTED: 17 Mar 2014 13:26 | CNA

SINGAPORE: Demand for new private homes in Singapore rebounded in February, boosted by good take-up rates at two condominium projects in the Sengkang area.

Figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed that developers sold 724 units last month, up by 28 per cent from January.

Rivertrees Residences was the star performer in February, selling 218 of the 300 units launched, while nearby Riverbank@Fernvale sold 211 of the 250 units launched.

Together, the two projects in Sengkang accounted for 59 per cent of total sales last month as mass market homes continued to drive sales.

According to URA, 588 new units were sold in the suburban areas, followed by 87 units in the city fringe and 49 units in the Core Central Region.

Chia Siew Chuin, director for research and advisory at Colliers International, said: “The exuberance has indeed been shaven off largely because of the effects of the TDSR (total debt servicing ratio); we are still looking at demand from the genuine buyers that are driving the market.

“So a group of buyers is still looking out for value buys — they are very selective. By and large, the market is steering towards a stable state as of now.”

Apart from the stronger showing at the two new projects in Sengkang, analysts said sales at existing launches remained fairly muted and some developers may decide to step up marketing efforts.

However, they do not expect home prices to correct significantly anytime soon.

Looking at February’s numbers, some market watchers said any hope of the government easing on property cooling measures is slim.

Ku Swee Yong, CEO of Century 21 Singapore, said: “In fact, with the mass market prices still going at above S$1,000 psf, and this month we also saw a transaction in Pasir Ris that is S$1,500 psf.

“In Bedok, again we are seeing S$1,600 psf transaction… this type of record setting type of prices probably would mean that the government would continue to keep the cooling measures in place.”

Some analysts said a trend is emerging — one that sees the more affordable units being taken up rapidly during the initial launch period. Thereafter, sales of the rest of the project will taper or stagnate.

Looking ahead, market watchers expect new home sales this year to come in at between 800 and 1,000 units a month if the new projects are priced reasonably.

Overall, developers launched a total of 671 private housing units for sale in February.

Including executive condominiums, developers sold 769 new units in February.

– CNA/nd/ms