SINGAPORE - The private property resale market continues to pick up not just from the Covid-19 fallout but also from the cooling measures implemented in 2018, with prices climbing for the fifth straight month in December.
For the whole of 2020, prices of resale condominiums rose 1.4 per cent, just slightly lower than the 1.8 per cent increase in 2019, according to flash figures from real estate portal SRX Property on Tuesday (Jan 12).
In December, overall resale prices of non-landed properties increased by 0.3 per cent from the previous month.
Meanwhile, resale volume decreased by 5.1 per cent to an estimated 1,236 units in December from 1,302 units resold in November.
Still, it marks the sixth consecutive month where resale volume crossed the 1,000-unit level.
Last month's sales volume is also 79.4 per cent higher than in December 2019, and 96.4 per cent more than the five-year average volumes for the month of December.
In spite of the pandemic and macroeconomic uncertainties, a total of 10,712 resale transactions were recorded for the whole of last year, which is 18.1 per cent higher than for 2019.
The private resale market is benefiting from the higher number of Housing Board flats that reached the end of their five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) in 2019 and 2020, compared to the 10-year period before 2019, said ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak.
He noted that about 24,500 HDB flats were eligible to be sold on the resale market last year, more than double the 10,400 flats that reached the end of their MOP in 2015.
"Some of these flat owners who sold their HDB flats to upgrade to private housing would prefer to buy completed resale properties so that they can move into the private properties soon after the sale of their public flats are finalised," he said.
OrangeTee & Tie director and senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun said she expects the private resale market to continue to improve this year, thanks to "low mortgage rates, a tight supply of new homes entering the market and a possible economic recovery".
Ms Wong Siew Ying, PropNex head of research and content, said travel restrictions due to Covid-19 may have helped boost sales.
"The pandemic-induced travel restrictions which kept many families in Singapore likely played a part in boosting resale volume in December, a month where market activity is typically slow as people go on vacation abroad," she said.
Ms Wong also said the renewed interest in the resale condo market in the second half of 2020 likely helped to support sale of new homes as some sellers may have recycled capital into acquiring properties in new launches.
Units in the outside central region (OCR) led resale volume last month, accounting for 60.9 per cent of the transactions. This was followed by units in the rest of central region (RCR) which contributed to 22.9 per cent, while the core central region (CCR) accounted for 16.3 per cent.
PropNex's Ms Wong said: "We expect demand for resale private homes in the OCR to remain healthy, supported by owner-occupiers and HDB upgraders. Additionally, some buyers who have a tighter budget but are looking for a more spacious home - due to telecommuting - may also opt for more affordable resale properties in the OCR."
The highest transacted price for a private resale unit in December was for a unit in Skyline @ Orchard Boulevard which sold for $12.2 million.
The highest transacted price in the city fringes was $4.3 million for a unit in Pebble Bay at the East Coast area, while a unit in A Treasure Trove in Punggol resold for $3.2 million, the highest price in the OCR.