Is there an oversupply of property in Singapore for 2020?

Studying the URA statistics for 2019 and 2018, we shall see if there is an oversupply of property in Singapore for 2020. This will determine if it is a good time to buy or sell your property.

Private residential primary market

Based on the latest statistics released by URA, in December 2019, real estate developers launched 370 private housing units and sold 538 units, excluding Executive Condominium (EC), in Singapore.

The decline in the number of private residential units launched and sold by developers last month does not reflect a weak property market. This was due to the seasonal effect of the year-end lull period in December. The decrease in the sales was also due to the absence of new project launches last month.

Most developers were priming their new projects to be launched in 2020. In the first two weeks of January 2020, three major residential projects, namely Van Holland, Leedon Green and The Avenir, were reportedly launched, with more to follow after the Lunar New Year, which starts on 25 January 2020. For the residential projects to be launched after the Lunar New year, the developers hope that the long runway, uninterrupted by public holidays, would allow their new project launches to accelerate the sales momentum.

Despite the lower sales volume of private housing units (excluding EC) in December 2019, the take-up rate of 145.4% was an improvement over the take-up rate of 123.0% in November. In the last 3 months of 2019, the take- up rate has remained above 100%, illustrating robust demand in the primary residential property market.

No. of housing units sold Ratio of Total units Sold / Total units Launched
Private & ECPrivate Residential OnlyPrivate & ECPrivate Residential Only
Oct 2019959932105.5%102.5%
Nov 20191,1861,165125.2%123.0%
Dec 2019551538148,9%145.4%

Based on the preliminary figures, an estimated 10,164 private housing units (excluding EC) were sold by developers in 2019. This is a 15.6% year-on-year (yoy) increase over the private housing sales in 2018.

Another example of healthy primary market home-buying demand was the take-up rate of private housing units in the last three months of 2019 at 118.4%, which was higher than the 110.8% in 4Q 2018.

No. of housing units sold Ratio of Total units Sold / Total units Launched
Private & ECPrivate Residential OnlyPrivate & ECPrivate Residential Only
4Q 20181,8651,836112.6%110.8%
Q4 20192,6962,635121.1%118.4%


Despite some commenters pushing the narrative about a glut in the residential property market, the potential supply in 2020 does not appear to be too alarming. In 2019, 55 residential projects with a total of 16,606 units were launched for sale. This includes the sole EC project, Piermont Grand with 820 units.

For the rest of 2020, an estimated 39 projects with an estimated 12,600 units could potentially be launched. This include two EC projects, namely Parc Canberra (496 units) and Ola (548 units); but exclude the three projects, with a total of 1,083 units that were already launched in this January. These three projects were Van Holland, Leedon Green and The Avenir.

Hence, the potential supply of new projects and number of units that could be launched in 2020 is lower than what was launched in the previous year.

As a large cloud of uncertainty has been lifted from the macro-economic environment with the agreement of Phase 1 of the US-China trade deal, the home-buying momentum that was built up last year could continue into 2020. Even if 12,600 units were launched in 2020 and developers sold around 10,000 units, which is about the same volume as in 2019, the market still have time to digest the remaining unsold units in the following year as these projects would not have reached their 5-year ABSD deadline in 2021.

With a relatively lower supply of new housing supply expected this year, the alarm over the so-called housing glut may have been overblown.

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