SINGAPORE - The Housing Board resale market remained robust in April as 21 million-dollar flats changed hands and overall resale prices rose for the 10th straight month.
Experts said the return to phase two Covid-19 curbs will help underpin demand.
Resale prices climbed 1.2 per cent last month compared with March, according to flash data from real estate portal SRX released on Thursday (May 6).
The 21 million-dollar flats sold last month were an increase from March, when 17 such flats were sold. The monthly record so far is 23 million-dollar flats sold in February.
The number of million-dollar flats sold in April accounts for 0.9 per cent of the total resale volume in the month, said SRX.
This brings the total of HDB flats that have sold for more than $1 million to 74 units in the first four months of this year, compared with 14 such units sold during the same period last year.
A total of 82 million-dollar flats changed hands in the whole of 2020.
Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, said it is likely that a new record for million-dollar flats will be inked next month.
Last month, a five-room 120 sq m Design, Build and Sell Scheme flat at Natura Loft in Bishan Street 24 was sold for $1.25 million. It has a balance lease of 89 years and five months.
It is now the second-most expensive HDB resale flat on record, just shy of the top spot of $1.258 million for a five-room flat at Pinnacle@Duxton in September last year.
ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak noted that the rising prices of private properties may be a contributing factor to the increased number of million-dollar resale flats.
"Some buyers feel that it's worthwhile to fork out a million dollars or more for a relatively new and well-located HDB flat on a high floor, as compared with a private condo or executive condo," he said.
The price rise for resale flats in April was broad-based, with prices growing in both mature and non-mature estates, as well as across all room types.
Year on year, prices have increased 10.8 per cent from April 2020, although they are 3.7 per cent lower than the peak in April 2013.
A total of 2,340 resale flats changed hands last month, representing a decrease of 4.4 per cent from March, the SRX data showed.
OrangeTee & Tie's Ms Sun noted that the number of transactions is still considered "healthy" as more than 2,000 units were sold. This is above the 1,873 monthly average transactions recorded in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
PropNex head of research and content Wong Siew Ying said: "The improved economic outlook, projected delays in the completion of new BTO (Build-To-Order) flats, as well as firm private home prices are some key factors that have spurred demand for resale HDB flats."
She added that the return to phase two Covid-19 curbs, such as tighter limits on gatherings and household visits, may restrict the number of potential buyers who are able to view properties in person.
"However, we do not expect it to have a major impact on sales as many real estate agents are already adept at using technology tools to conduct virtual tours and performing transactions in a safe manner," she said.
Analysts say the tightened restrictions on arrivals from India and Bangladesh, among other countries, will lead to further delay of the construction of BTO projects.
Said ERA's Mr Mak: "More home buyers will choose to buy resale flats instead, leading to further expansion of the demand for such real estate this year."
He expects HDB resale prices to continue to grow by 7 per cent to 10 per cent this year.
This month, HDB will launch some 3,800 BTO units in Bukit Merah, Geylang, Tengah and Woodlands. In August, another 4,900 BTO flats in Hougang, Jurong East, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown and Tampines will be put up for sale.