HDB resale volume up 10.3% in April but prices mostly flat

A total of 1,828 HDB units changed hands last month - the highest monthly volume since October 2012, when 1,955 units were resold. Overall resale prices inched down slightly by 0.1 per cent.
A total of 1,828 HDB units changed hands last month - the highest monthly volume since October 2012, when 1,955 units were resold. Overall resale prices inched down slightly by 0.1 per cent.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Even as the number of Housing Board resale flats climbed last month, prices remained relatively flat, signalling a stabilising market.

A total of 1,828 units changed hands last month, according to SRX Property flash figures released yesterday. This is a 10.3 per cent jump from the 1,657 transactions in March, and the highest monthly volume since October 2012, when 1,955 units were resold.

But property experts said this does not indicate a market rebound as prices have hardly moved for the past year.

Last month, overall resale prices for HDB flats inched down slightly by 0.1 per cent, and were just 0.2 per cent lower than a year before.

The price drop was led by five-roomer prices, which fell 0.9 per cent. Four-roomer prices stayed flat, while three-room and executive flat prices went up 0.6 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.

Mr Donald Yeo, head of agency and training at real estate firm DWG, said the rise in transactions coupled with marginal price shifts pointed to a stabilising market.

"Prices are like a gradual, regular heartbeat now. Buyers these days are beginning to accept that this is about the lowest they will go. They buy now because they think prices will be going up next," said Mr Yeo.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim noted that March, April and May are usually the most active months for the resale market. He said: "It follows the Chinese New Year lull and will start to slow down again during June holidays and the Hungry Ghost month."

Mr Lim added that as market conditions have stabilised, buyers and sellers now have a better match in price expectations.

"People are negotiating around valuation price now. Otherwise, buyers can just abort the deal."

Mr Yeo agreed. He said: "Prices these days are very transparent. Buyers can always check against recent transactions."

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng described this as an "ultimate compromise situation" between buyers and sellers. He added that prices are unlikely to rise notably for the rest of the year.

"Most buyers will be opportunity buyers who will buy a flat after a long wait - they will not relent (when it comes) to high prices asked by sellers," said Mr Ong.

Ongoing property cooling measures such as loan curbs will also continue to keep a lid on prices, experts added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2016, with the headline 'HDB resale volume up 10.3% in April but prices mostly flat'. Print Edition | Subscribe