Singapore August private home sales fall sharply on cooling measures, festive lull

Skyscrapers are pictured at dusk in Singapore’s central business district. (Reuters pic)

SINGAPORE: Sales of private homes by developers in Singapore fell sharply in August, government data showed on Monday, dampened by property curbs and the seasonal lull during the “Hungry Ghost” month.

Data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed developers sold 616 units last month, a 50.6% drop from a year earlier when they sold 1,246 units.

Sales fell 64.3% from 1,724 units sold in July.

“The plunge in sales was due to the effects of the cooling measures that became operative on 6 July 2018 as well as the lunar seventh month which lasted from 11 August to 9 September 2018,” JLL’s national director of research in Singapore, Ong Teck Hui said in a note to clients.

The Singapore government intensified property curbs in July, after a 9.1% annual increase in home prices and as developers paid record amounts to buy land.

The Hungry Ghost festival falls in the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Some buyers consider it taboo to buy houses during the inauspicious period, which, according to cultural tradition, is when the spirits of the dead return to earth.