HDB resale prices up slightly in March, more flats changing hands

There were 1,319 resale flats changing hands in March - the highest volume since last October. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
There were 1,319 resale flats changing hands in March - the highest volume since last October. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Resale prices of Housing Board flats edged up 0.3 per cent in March from a month before, according to Singapore Real Estate Exchange flash figures on Monday. But they were still 4.9 per cent lower than the same time last year.

There were also more transactions in March, with 1,319 resale flats changing hands - the highest volume since last October. This was up from just 951 in February, and comparable to the 1,356 flats sold in the same time last year.

The HDB resale process was changed on March 10, such that valuations could only be obtained after a transaction price was agreed. SRX thus did not release any figures for cash-over-valuation, the cash premium that used to be an important part of negotiations.

But transaction prices were generally $3,000 below SRX's own approximation of valuation, known as X-Value. This negative figure "means people are paying below recent transactions, causing downward pressure on prices," said SRX co-founder Jeremy Lee.

The overall rise in resale prices was due to rising prices of three- and four-room flats, by 0.5 and 0.8 per cent respectively. This more than made up for the 0.2 per cent fall in five-room flat prices and the 0.7 per cent fall in executive flat prices.

As for the HDB rental market, volume picked up but prices remained flat. There were an estimated 1,627 flats rented in March, the highest in eight months - though still 8.6 per cent lower than the same time last year. Median rental prices remained at $2,300 for the fourth month in a row.