‘Hungry Ghost’ month affected home sales in Singapore

A general view of preserved shop houses (foreground) in the Chinatown section of Singapore sits against the financial district highrises in the background, 14 February 2007. (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)

Singapore 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 data released Monday. 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 percent in the three months ended September 30 from the previous quarter, according to preliminary data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority released October 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.

Developers launched new units in some older projects last month. Stars of Kovan marketed 25 new units last month while Sims Urban Oasis launched 20 units, the data showed. – Bloomberg