HDB resale prices stabilise but private homes see bigger fall

This is the HDB resale market's second quarter of marginal decline, note experts. In the private resale market, the price decline was broad-based but led by 1.6 per cent falls in the city fringe and suburban regions.
This is the HDB resale market's second quarter of marginal decline, note experts. In the private resale market, the price decline was broad-based but led by 1.6 per cent falls in the city fringe and suburban regions.ST FILE PHOTO

Public resale prices down 0.3% in Q3 while private home prices fall 1.3%

Property resale prices continued to fall across the board in the third quarter, but with different outlooks in the public and private markets.

While the Housing Board resale market continued to show signs of stabilising, private property prices saw the largest quarterly decline since their slide began.

HDB resale prices fell by just 0.3 per cent, according to official figures yesterday.

It was the ninth straight quarter of decline, but the smallest dip since prices began falling in 2013.

 

In contrast, private resale prices were down 1.3 per cent, the largest fall since the downward trend began in the last quarter of 2013.

Experts noted that it was the HDB resale market's second quarter of marginal decline. Said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng: "This reflects confirmed stability in the prices of resale flats."

With HDB prices having fallen 1.8 per cent so far this year, ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim expects a full-year fall of just 2 to 2.5 per cent, compared with last year's 6 per cent slide.

There were fewer HDB transactions, with 4,893 flats changing hands compared with 5,286 in the second quarter.

Experts said this could be due to the upcoming launch of new flats next month, with the HDB set to offer 7,000 Build-To-Order flats and another 5,000 Sale of Balance flats.

But transaction volume was still higher than at the same time last year, which experts attributed to buyers being attracted by lower prices.

In the private resale market, the price decline was broad-based but led by 1.6 per cent falls in the city fringe and suburban regions.

Prices in the core central region fell 1.2 per cent, double the 0.6 per cent fall in the previous quarter.

PropNex Realty chief executive officer Mohamed Ismail Gafoor said both buyers and developers are holding back. Buyers expect further price declines, while developers want to avoid a clash in launch dates which could further dilute demand.

Developers also have "an eye on (the) Government stepping in to adjust some of the cooling measures", added Mr Ismail.

But new National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has indicated that the property cooling measures behind the current downward trend are not likely to be tweaked any time soon.

SLP International Property Consultants head of research Nicholas Mak noted a possible silver lining if suburban private home prices continue to fall faster than public resale prices.

"The narrowing price gap between mass-market condos and HDB resale flats might encourage HDB owners to upgrade to private homes." This could cushion the fall in suburban prices and sales volumes in the year ahead, he added.

Private residential rents were also on the decline, but at a slower pace.

They fell 0.6 per cent in the third quarter, compared with the 1.1 per cent fall in the second quarter.

For non-landed residential properties, suburban rents fell most, by 1.1 per cent. City fringe rents were down 0.8 per cent and core central region rents fell 0.4 per cent.

Landed property rentals were flat with a 0.1 per cent decline, compared with the 1 per cent fall in the previous quarter.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'HDB resale prices stabilise but private homes see bigger fall'. Print Edition | Subscribe