HDB resale volume in July highest in two years; prices also up

The number of resale transactions of Housing Board (HDB) flats last month hit the highest in two years, even as prices crept up, according to flash data released by real estate portal SRX Property yesterday.

An estimated 2,470 HDB resale flats were sold last month, a 0.7 per cent increase from June when 2,453 units were sold.

July's sales estimates are the highest monthly figures in two years since July 2018, when 2,553 units were transacted.

The high sales for June and July came after exceptionally low numbers of 423 and 364 flats sold in April and May respectively, during the circuit breaker period that lasted from April 7 to June 1.

The July sales were concluded even as the latest estimates show HDB resale prices had increased 0.4 per cent last month compared with the month before, with the resale price index at 132.9 in July, up from 132.3 in June.

Property analysts said that despite the bleak economic outlook, the HDB resale market will likely weather the coronavirus pandemic.

ERA Realty's head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said: "Some home buyers prefer to purchase HDB flats during periods of economic uncertainties as they remain the most affordable housing."

He predicted that the resale price index is likely to rise gradually, and estimated that there would be an increase of between 0.6 per cent and 1.2 per cent by the end of this year owing partly to an increase in sales of newer flats.

Ms Wong Siew Ying, head of research and content at PropNex, said: "The strong resale volume in July would likely put to rest any doubts that June's sales spike was a blip caused by pent-up demand owing to the lockdown in April and May."

She added that the fact that HDB prices have held up in the recent quarters - amid the pandemic - also reflects the strength of the HDB resale market, where sellers still have sufficient financial holding power and are generally able to maintain their asking prices.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, attributed the high sales volume to a backlog of transactions that were accumulated during the circuit breaker period.

She added that during the current economic slowdown, HDB resale numbers could remain high as buyers could be looking for more affordable homes.

Last month, four-room units were the most popular, making up 40.1 per cent of the flats sold, followed by three-room units at 25.1 per cent and five-room flats at 24.3 per cent.

Executive units made up 7.8 per cent, while the rest were two-room and one-room flats.

Looking forward, Ms Sun said: "Given that the HDB resale market has not been heavily battered by the pandemic, the road to recovery may not be a lengthy one."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2020, with the headline HDB resale volume in July highest in two years; prices also up. Subscribe