Singapore July private home sales soar to record high

SINGAPORE Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:22am EDT

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SINGAPORE Aug 17 (Reuters) - Private home sales in Singapore soared to a record high for the second straight month in July, indicating increased confidence and speculation in the city-state's property market, government data showed on Monday.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) website showed developers sold 2,767 private homes in July, smashing the previous monthly record of 1,825 units that was set in June.

Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex, a real estate broker, noted that over 40 percent of sales involved mid to higher-tier homes costing above S$1,000 ($692) per square foot, indicating the boom was no longer restricted to cheaper apartments.

The higher selling prices were also "a result of developers reacting to consumers' demand and raising the prices," he added.

The URA data showed that City Developments (CTDM.SI), Fraser & Neave's (FRNM.SI) property arm Frasers Centrepoint and banker Wee Cho Yaw's UOL Group (UTOS.SI) were among developers with the largest number of sales.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said last month that there were signs of speculation in Singapore's property market and warned the government may step in to calm the market. For stories on concerns about asset bubbles, see [ID:nSP511078].

Private home sales in Singapore, Hong Kong and China have soared since February this year, despite the weak global economy, helped by low interest rates and the huge amount of savings amassed by many households. (Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Neil Chatterjee)

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