SINGAPORE - While Housing Board (HDB) resale volume dipped in October compared to the previous month, prices continued to rise, indicating that demand remained relatively robust amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, 13 HDB resale flats were sold for more than $1 million, flash estimates from real estate portal SRX showed on Thursday (Nov 5). It is the highest-ever number of such transactions for a single month.
The previous high was in June 2018 when 11 million-dollar flats changed hands.
A total of 59 HDB resale flats have been sold for more than $1 million in the first 10 months of this year.
Ms Wong Siew Ying, PropNex head of research and content, noted that this year's figure looks to be on track to surpass the 64 such million-dollar deals recorded last year.
National Development Minister Desmond Lee noted in Parliament last month that HDB resale flats that sell for at least $1 million made up just 0.3 per cent of total resale transactions this year.
For October, there were a total of 2,436 HDB resale transactions, down by 2.1 per cent from September, according to the SRX data.
The 13 million-dollar flats make up 0.5 per cent of total resale transactions last month.
Of the HDB resale flats sold last month, 41.5 per cent were four-room flats, 26.4 per cent were five-room flats, 20.8 per cent were three-room flats and 9.6 per cent were executive flats. The rest of the transactions involved multi-generation and two-room flats.
October was the fifth consecutive month when sales volume stayed above 2,400 units, after rebounding from weak sales during the two-month-long circuit breaker period in April and May.
Overall prices for HDB resale flats increased by 1.2 per cent in October compared to September. It is the fourth consecutive month to see a price increase.
HDB data shows that HDB resale price rose 1.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter of this year.
Orange Tee & Tie head of research and consultancy Christine Sun said large resale flats, especially those that are well-located, have been in demand over the past few months.
"This is not surprising as some families prefer to buy resale flats during a crisis since people tend to be more prudent. For the same price, they can purchase a much bigger flat as compared to a private home," she said.
She noted that singles who are moving out from their family homes to live on their own may have also contributed to the demand, as the work-from-home arrangement looks set to continue into Phase 3 for some companies.
PropNex's Ms Wong said that, based on ground feedback from the firm's agents, the asking prices of HDB resale flats have risen in recent months, owing to strong demand and increased sales volume.
"In many cases, the agreed selling price is higher than the market valuation of the unit and the buyers have had to pay the difference in cash," she said.
In October, a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) five-room flat at Natura Loft in Bishan recorded the highest transacted price at $1,208,000.
An executive maisonette flat in Jurong East was sold for $820,000 in what was the highest resale price for non-mature estates.
Data from SRX also showed that the overall median transaction over X-value (TOX) was a positive $3,000 in October, an increase of $1,000 compared with September.
Median TOX measures whether people are overpaying (in the case of positive TOX) or underpaying (when there is negative TOX) relative to the SRX's computer-generated estimated market value for flats.
ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said that prior to Covid-19, the Singapore real estate market would enter a lull period in the last quarter of the year as people go on vacations.
However, with travel restrictions in place in Singapore and many travel destinations, this year may be the exception.
Mr Mak estimates that the HDB resale volume for 2020 could vary between 23,500 and 24,800 flats, surpassing the 23,714 flats transacted last year.
"With a more active resale market, the HDB resale price index could also edge upwards to end the year with a 2.5 to 3.5 per cent year-on-year increase," he said.