HDB resale volume falls amid quiet market

November figures due to seasonal factors and bumper launch of new flats, say experts

Fewer Housing Board flats changed hands last month amid a quiet resale market.

But experts said this was due to seasonal factors and the bumper launch of new flats in the same month rather than a lack of buyers.

According to SRX Property flash figures yesterday, 1,467 flats changed hands last month, down from 1,745 in October.

The lower resale volume was expected due to HDB's launch of more than 12,000 build-to-order (BTO) and balance flats, including 2,139 BTO units in the sought-after new estate of Bidadari, said experts.

The year-end period is also traditionally slower, noted R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

November's price rise was driven by larger flats, with resale prices rising 0.5 per cent for four-roomers and 1.4 per cent for five-roomers.

The fall is thus not indicative of a broader trend, said experts.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim noted that despite the month-on-month fall, resale volume was still up 8.7 per cent from the 1,350 flats resold in the previous November. "This is a clear sign that, increasingly, more buyers are attracted to the resale market as prices have largely stabilised," he said.

Resale prices rose 0.4 per cent last month, which experts said is part of a continued picture of market stability. "We do not read this as a rebound in resale HDB flat prices," said Mr Lim, calling it "seasonal fluctuation".

The resale market has seen minor fluctuations this year of less than 1 per cent month on month, according to SRX figures.

PropNex Realty described HDB resale prices as "reaching a consolidation phase". They have fallen by less than 2 per cent for the year so far, compared with the full-year fall of over 6 per cent last year.

November's price rise was driven by larger flats, with resale prices rising 0.5 per cent for four-roomers and 1.4 per cent for five-roomers.

But Mr Ong does not expect prices for these larger flats to hold as more executive condominiums and private homes are being completed.

HDB upgraders are often four- or five-room flat owners who will now have to offload their units, and the increase in resale supply of larger flats will thus hold prices down, he said.

The resale price increase was across both mature and non-mature estates, where prices rose 0.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

As for three-room and executive flats, their prices fell 0.7 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

Looking ahead to next year, experts do not expect prices to pick up if cooling measures stay unchanged.

PropNex Realty expects prices to stay flat next year, though there is a possibility of a 1 per cent to 2 per cent rise.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2015, with the headline 'HDB resale volume falls amid quiet market'. Print Edition | Subscribe