Singapore Briefs

2Q home sales exceed entire 2008 figure
The total number of new homes sold in 2Q2009 exceeded that in 2008, says Li Hiaw Ho, executive director of CBRE Research. URA data shows that 4,654 new homes were sold in 2Q, compared with 4,264 sold for the whole of 2008. The figure is also 79.3% higher than the 2,596 new homes sold in 1Q2009.
This brings the entire new home sales volume in 1H2009 to 7,250 units, not far from the 10-year average annual take-up of 8,037 units. This surprisingly strong take-up is attributed to strong market sentiment, says Li. “Buyers with the perception that home prices may rise again after having corrected from peak levels, have been active.”

The resale market was equally active with a total of 3,059 homes changing hands in 2Q, which is nearly triple the volume of 1,144 units in 1Q2009. Similarly, 940 sub-sales were registered in 2Q2009, compared with 412 units in 1Q2009.

Meanwhile, the residential price index retreated only 4.7%, which is a much smaller contraction than the 14.1% drop in 1Q. This brings the URA price index back to the early 2007 levels, notes CBRE.

The residential leasing market was also active in 2Q2009, compared with 1Q. A total of 10,327 leases were signed, 7.8% higher than the 9,579 leases in the previous quarter. “The higher volume of leasing activity could be attributed to increased hiring in the commodity, petro chemical and energy sectors, in contrast to the financial sector which was still downsizing their expatriate teams,” says CBRE’s Li. Even the decline in the rental index was smaller in 2Q, which dropped 5.2% q-o-q compared with 8.5% in 1Q2009.

Serangoon Central Mall 60% leased
Gold Ridge Pte Ltd announced recently that it has already pre-leased 60% of the lettable space in its mall at Serangoon Central, 15 months ahead of the mall’s opening date. One of the anchor tenants is Isetan, which has secured 53,000 sq ft worth of space in the first three levels of the six-storey mall. Other tenants include IT store Challenger, household furniture and electronics mega store Courts and supermarkets Cold Storage (12,000 sq ft) and FairPrice Xtra (60,000 sq ft hypermarket), which will be housed together within the same mall in Singapore for the first time.

Keppel Land’s 2Q earnings up 10%
Keppel Land reported a 34% increase in revenue to S$249.9 million (about RM611.9million) for the three months ended June 30 on stronger residential sales and rental income. Earnings rose 10% to S$58 million in 2Q. Signs of recovery were seen in countries it operates in. For instance, in China, Keppel Land sold over 1,440 units in 1H2009, mainly from township developments like The Botanica in Chengdu and Central Park City in Wuxi. With market sentiment improving, the company plans to accelerate project launches in Singapore, China and Vietnam. The 56-unit Madison Residences and 15-unit The Promont will be launched in 2H2009. DMG estimates prices to start at S$1,700 psf. — Compiled by The Edge Singapore

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 766, Aug 3-9, 2009.

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