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Singapore home sales jump, defying Asia property weakness

SINGAPORE: While Asian housing markets from Hong Kong to Bangkok buckle under the outbreak of coronavirus, Singapore seems to be holding up, at least for now.

Sales in the city-state jumped 57% to 975 units in February, from 620 in January, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority data released Monday. It’s the highest February total since 2017, when 979 apartments were sold.

Singaporeans view property as a safe asset, boosting the appeal of housing in a time of turmoil. Global equity markets have tanked this month as the virus, known as Covid-19, spreads around the globe.

“Many investors could be looking at diversifying their portfolio to more stable assets like property during market uncertainty, ” said Christine Sun, head of research at OrangeTee & Tie. “Some could have withdrawn funds from more volatile investments like equities to property, which usually offers more stable returns in the long term.”

Singapore hasn’t been as hard hit by the virus as other Asian nations. As of March 15, it had recorded a total of 226 cases, and no deaths.

In China, where the virus originated and large swathes of the country were locked down to slow the spread, home-price growth stalled last month, according to data released Monday. In Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, no transactions were recorded in February.

In Hong Kong, home prices Hong Kong fell to a one-year low last week, data released Friday showed.

An expected slowdown in Thailand’s economy from the virus could also curb buying sentiment for residential property, said Catherine Lim, Bloomberg Intelligence senior industry analyst for consumer products. – Bloomberg

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2020/03/16/singapore-home-sales-jump-defying-asia-property-weakness