DEVELOPERS in Singapore sold 1,609 new private homes in January, up 32 per cent over December's 1,217 due to a few mega launches.
It is also the highest monthly sales notched since July 2018's 1,724, and up 160 per cent from the 620 achieved in January 2020.
The 2,600 units launched for sale in January was also the highest since March 2013's 3,489.
The number of units launched for sale is the highest January figure since the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) started the series in 2007 and the highest since March 2013, said Lee Sze Teck, Huttons Asia director (research).
"Developers rode on the positive sentiments and pushed out more units for sale," he said.
The figures - released by the URA on Monday exclude executive condominium (EC) units, which are a public-private housing hybrid.
Including the 489 ECs sold, developers moved 2,098 new homes in January, up 66 per cent from December and up 228 per cent from January 2020.
Last month's top selling project was the 1,862-unit Normanton Park which sold 625 units.
This was followed by the 700-unit Parc Central Residences EC, which sold 417 units, and the 429-unit The Reef at King's Dock that moved 221 units.
Other projects like Ki Residences at Brookvale, Treasure at Tampines, Jadescape, Parc Clematis and The Garden Residences were among the top 10 last month.
Mr Lee said the sales achieved at Normanton Park meant another record has been broken.
"This certainly creates a positive vibe and sets the tone for the property market. The affordable quantum, low interest rate environment, ample liquidity, large base of HDB upgraders, recovery of the property market, perceived shortage in supply and pent-up demand for this long-awaited project resulted in the overwhelming response to this project," he said.
"Sales was given an added impetus in January because of the fear of missing out should fresh cooling measures be imposed on the market," said Mr Lee.
Talk is rife that policy tweaks could be on the horizon to cool Singapore's buoyant residential segment, as the government keeps an eye on the real estate market, The Business Times reported this month.
Home prices gained pace last year, even as the economy fell into recession.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in January that the property market must remain stable so young Singaporeans can own their homes.
"Past experiences from cooling measures have taught that large crowds will form outside the show flats when the government announces new measures," said Mr Lee.
"In this 'new normal' where crowds are frowned upon and discouraged, the government may want to take this into consideration should the announcement of new cooling measures spark huge crowds and perhaps a spike in Covid-19 infections," he said.
Added Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie, senior vice-president, research and analytics: "On-the-fence buyers could have decided to take action as they think their buying eligibility or borrowing limits could be affected by possible new cooling measures.
"Some long-term investors sprang into action as they anticipate that it may be harder to own a second or third property if new cooling measures were implemented," she said.
"Some buyers would also want to avoid history from repeating itself. Many buyers were jostling to enter condominium show flats to make last-minute purchases before cooling measures kicked in during the last property curbs released in July 2018," she said.
"Some buyers were turned away while others were unsuccessful in their ballots to obtain a property.
Even if cooling measures were not implemented, buyers may still be in a better position to ink a unit sooner rather than later as prices of homes are likely to rise further since the global economy is expected to pick up this year," said Ms Sun.