The Singapore residential real estate market had an impressive bull run despite the debilitating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on some industries. The private residential property price index is estimated to increase 6% to 7% in 2021 and sale transactions reached a 8-year record peak.
However, the Singapore government surprised the market with another round of cooling measures in mid-December 2021, clouding the outlook for the coming year.
The objective of this report is the analyse the Singapore private residential property sales in 2021 in the different market segments, in both the primary and secondary markets.
Source of data
The real estate information used in the report is obtained from URA Realis as at 29 Dec 2021. As this report was written before the end of 2021, the statistics used in this report could differ from the final official figures which will be released by the government at the last week of January 2022.
Private Residential Property Market
Real estate developers sold 12,900 private residential housing units, excluding Executive Condominium (EC) in 2021, 29.2% more than the sales in the previous year. The residential primary market sales in 2021 is the highest since 2013. The robust sales volume was driven by healthy market confidence, low interest rates, ample liquidity and the fear of missing out (FOMO).
The biggest share of the private housing units sold by developers in 2021, consisting of 41.7% of all the units sold, were located in the city fringe or Rest of Central Region (RCR). About 19.3% of the units were situated in the Core Central Region (CCR), while the remaining 39.0% of the units were in the suburban Outside Central Region (OCR).
In the past 15 years, the RCR only occupied the largest market share of the private residential primary market sales twice, which were in 2018 and 2021. The OCR took the biggest slice of the primary market share in the other 13 years. It was common for the OCR to have the biggest market share as it occupies the largest geographical area compared to the other two market segments.
Figure 1 | Market share of primary market sales of each market segment in 2021
The tables below show the best-selling residential projects in 2021.
Table 2 | Rest of Central Region Best-selling residential projects in 2021
Table 3 | Outside Central Region Best-selling residential projects in 2021
Private residential secondary market
The residential secondary market sales volume jumped 77.1% year-on-year to a record 19,348 private residential units in 2021. This was the highest transaction volume in the secondary market since 2010, when 22,608 private housing units exchanged hands.
The secondary market sales were mostly driven by Singaporeans and HDB upgraders. Some owners of HDB flats took advantage of the hot HDB resale market to sell their flats in order to upgrade to the private residential properties. These upgraders would need to buy completed private properties as their new homes.
Figure 2 | Private residential secondary market sales
The overall residential property market
In total, 32,248 private housing units were transacted in the primary and secondary markets in 2021, which was a 54.2% surge over the previous year. It was also the highest transaction volume since 2012, a year before the government introduced the Total Debt Servicing Ratio regime.
Figure 3 | Total private residential sales
The OCR took up the largest market share at 47.9% of the total number of units sold in 2021.This was followed by the RCR and CCR with 33.0% and 19.1% of the number of units sold respectively.
The latest cooling measures have increased the risks for developers in the property development market. Property developers have to face the uncertain future housing demand affected by the property curbs. In addition, they also have to face the risks due to rising construction costs and possible rising interest rates and financing costs.
Land acquisitions through collective sales could be riskier than government land sale as the former require more time to complete and could be ensnared in litigations. To mitigate risks, developers would turn to government land sales to acquire major land parcels to replenish their land banks in 2022. It would be very challenging for the large collective sale projects to be sold in 2022 due to the uncertainties created by the property curbs. Hence, the latest cooling measures could lead to lower volume of land acquisition in 2022 compared to 2021.
To ensure that they have sufficient inventory of new residential developments to sell, property developers would delay the launch of some of their projects. As a result, about 6,000 to 7,000 residential units expected to be launched in 2022, fewer than the estimated 10,200 to 10,800 units launched in 2021.
The residential primary market sales in 2022 could be significantly lower than the volume in 2021 due to three reasons.
First, the lower residential launch volume would always result in lower sales. With fewer new residential units released for sale in 2022, fewer buyers could be attracted to the primary market.
Second, the latest cooling measures would curb buying demand, especially from foreigners, companies and those who are buying their subsequent residential properties.
Third, the sales volume in 2021 was an 8-year record peak and such transaction volume cannot be sustained, especially with fewer housing units expected to be launched and with the weight of the latest property curbs. Also, take a look at the beautiful Meyer Mansion: Stunning luxury property with beautiful sea view
Source: By ERA Research