SINGAPORE - Fewer Housing Board resale flats were sold last month compared to November, with a 3 per cent drop, even as prices dipped slightly in the same period, based on latest flash estimates.
In all, 1,858 HDB resale flats changed hands in December, real estate portal SRX Property said on Thursday (Jan 9). Compared to a year ago, resale volume last month was up 29.6 per cent.
A total of 22,477 HDB resale transactions were made in 2019, 3.4 per cent higher than in 2018.
Four-room flats made up 41.3 per cent of the resale units sold last month, followed by three-room flats at 25.8 per cent and five-room flats at 23.3 per cent, while executive condominium flats made up 7.7 per cent. The rest sold were two-room flats.
Meanwhile, resale flat prices in December fell by 0.3 per cent over November's figures, although this was still 0.4 per cent higher than a year ago.
Compared to the peak in April 2013, prices were 14 per cent lower.
Prices in non-mature estates fell by 1.6 per cent year on year while those in mature estates fell by 1.4 per cent.
The most expensive resale flat last month was a four-room flat at The Pinnacle @ Duxton, which was sold for $1.06 million. A five-room premium unit in Punggol was sold at $871,000, the most costly flat sold in a non-mature estate.
SRX forecasts that in the next three months, 4,785 flats will be put on the resale market as they approach their five-year minimum occupation period.
Its calculations show that resale flat buyers in December paid $1,000 more than what it estimates to be the market value for flats. It was a $2,000 increase from November last year.
SRX data showed that the overall median transaction over X-value (TOX) was positive $1,000 last month.
TOX measures how much a buyer is overpaying (positive value) or underpaying (negative value) for a property based on SRX's computer-generated market value. The data only includes districts with more than 10 resale transactions.
HDB executive condominium flats recorded a positive median TOX value of $15,000 last month while both three-room and four-room flats recorded positive median TOX values of $,1000 over the same period. Five-room flats recorded a negative median TOX value of $2,000.
Flats in Serangoon recorded the highest median TOX at $40,000, while those in Bishan recorded the lowest median TOX, at negative $6,000.
The dip in the number of resale flats sold in December compared with November could be seasonal.
Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee and Tie, said: "Housing activities typically slow down in December since most potential buyers are still on holiday and many sellers prefer to hold back their listings to the start of the following year."
Ms Sun expected sentiment to improve, with a higher flat sales volume this year.
Recent positive policy changes such as the introduction of the new Enhanced Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant in September last year and increased flexibility of CPF usage for purchases of older flats may help to spur demand.
"The overall market performance for 2019 is considered commendable given the macroeconomic uncertainties and slower economic growth," she said.
ERA Realty's head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak echoed similar remarks, saying that these policies "have catalysed the recovery of HDB resale prices".
"After declining for the past six years, the HDB resale flat price index could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel," he added.