HDB resale volume up but prices stay flat

HDB flats in Toa Payoh.
HDB flats in Toa Payoh. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Housing Board resale prices stayed flat last month as the market continued to stabilise, but the number of transactions shot up, according to SRX Property flash figures yesterday.

October saw the most monthly transactions so far this year, with 1,745 units changing hands.

This was up 16 per cent from September's 1,504 units, and 12.4 per cent higher than a year before.

The combination of stagnant prices and increased volume suggests that buyers are biting "based on opportunities of attractive pricing", said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim noted that recent housing policy changes could have boosted the number of deals, such as the new Proximity Housing Grant for buyers of flats near their parents or married children.

The upcoming launch of new flats this month will likely draw away some demand, he said. But overall, he expects some 18,000 to 19,000 resale transactions for the whole year, up from last year's record low.

Prices continue to stay flat. From September to last month, SRX's HDB resale price index moved from 134.7 to 134.6, a negligible shift that means prices were essentially unchanged.

Experts expect continued stability. Said Mr Lim: "As the market continues to be weighed down by the cooling measures and large supply, we should continue to see minor price variations every month, probably around 0.5 per cent in either direction."

In the past 12 months, only twice has the size of monthly price changes exceeded 0.5 per cent.

Prices last month were flat in mature and non-mature estates alike. But there were marginal differences across flat types. Resale prices rose for three-room and executive flats by 0.7 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively, but fell for four- and five-room flats by 0.8 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.

Mr Ong expects four- and five-room flat prices to continue to face pressure. More such flats are expected to hit the market next year, as upgraders sell their flats upon the completion of private and executive condominiums.

Still, Mr K. L. Goh, 38, is optimistic about selling his five-room premium flat in Punggol. Similar units have sold for about $530,000."I think I'll be able to sell, it's just a question of how much," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'HDB resale volume up but prices stay flat'. Print Edition | Subscribe