S’pore home sales drop amid ‘hungry ghost’ month

SingaporeSingapore home sales fell in September as developers marketed fewer projects in a month considered inauspicious by Chinese homebuyers.

Developers sold 657 units last month, down from a revised 1,246 in August, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data released yesterday. That’s the lowest sales since January. A total of 73 new units were offered, down from 794 in August, the data showed.

The seventh month of the lunar calendar year, known as the Hungry Ghost Month, is a time homebuyers avoid property purchases. This year, that period lasted for the latter part of August and most of September.

Despite a slow month, Singapore’s property market is showing signs of a turnaround. Home prices rose for the first time in four years, snapping a record run of declines and confirming recent signs that the property market is rebounding. An index tracking private residential prices gained 0.5% in the three months ended on Sept 30 from the previous quarter, according to preliminary data from the URA released on Oct 2.

Developers have sold about 9,000 units this year, eclipsing the full-year totals for 2014 to 2016. Still, the bulk of Singapore’s cooling measures rolled out since 2009 remain in place. Before the latest data, a 15-quarter decline in prices was the longest since the residential index was first published in 1975. — Bloomberg

Dayang Norazhar

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