September 17, 2018 / 8:30 AM / a month ago

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

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - 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.

A view of a residential public housing estate in Singapore January 3, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files

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

Sales fell 64.3 percent 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 percent 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.

Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Eric Meijer

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