HDB flats remain hot with 23 million-dollar units sold last month

Resale prices up 1.4% from January in eighth straight month of increase

Housing Board flats remain a hot commodity with a record 23 units changing hands last month for a million dollars or more, while overall resale prices rose for the eighth straight month.

Resale prices climbed 1.4 per cent last month from January, and a striking 8.3 per cent from February last year, although they are still 5.7 per cent lower than their peak in April 2013.

Flats that went for at least $1 million comprised about 1 per cent of the total number of units resold.

The highest price for a resale flat last month was the $1.21 million paid for an executive maisonette in Toh Yi Drive, showed flash data from real estate portal SRX that was released yesterday.

An executive premium maisonette in Choa Chu Kang Street 64 that went for $890,000 topped the price table in non-mature estates.

It has certainly been a big-buck start to the year with the 23 million-dollar flats sold last month coming after the 13 moved in January - a total of 36 compared with just eight in the same two-month period last year.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, noted that six of the million-dollar units were from the Pinnacle@Duxton, while four were Design, Build and Sell Scheme homes at The Peak @Toa Payoh.

The overall HDB resale market recorded 2,165 sales last month, down 13.4 per cent from January, but 29.8 per cent higher than a year earlier.

PropNex research and content head Wong Siew Ying said the resale market took a breather last month due to the Chinese New Year festivities, and will likely pick up again.

Ms Sun noted that while fewer flats changed hands last month compared with January, the volume was still the strongest February sales recorded since 2010.

Four-room flats made up 40.7 per cent of the resold units, five-roomers accounted for 28.6 per cent and three-room units 21.6 per cent.

The rest were executive, two-room and multi-generation homes.

Ms Sun said that high demand, tight supply and recovering market sentiment may be propping up HDB resale prices.

"Many young couples have also turned to the resale market as many were either unsuccessful in recent BTO (Build-To-Order) launches or could not wait more than five years for the completion of new BTO flats," she added.

"Further, demand may have been pushed up by Singaporeans downgrading from private con-dominiums."

Ms Wong noted that Punggol led last month's sales with 208 resale flat transactions, followed by Sengkang with 205 and Tampines with 153.

"Generally, resale flats in the suburban areas tend to enjoy keen buying interest compared with those located closer to the city owing to their more affordable prices," she said.

Ms Wong expects HDB resale prices to remain resilient for the rest of the year, potentially growing by 3 per cent to 5 per cent.

Demand will be driven by two factors: A bumper crop of newer resale units entering the market after attaining their five-year minimum occupation period and buyers deterred by over-subscription of attractive BTO projects and longer wait times for these estates to be completed, she added.

ERA Realty research and consultancy head Nicholas Mak said some buyers might be rushing to purchase resale flats in anticipation of cooling measures, given rising home prices.

"The Singapore Government recently issued warnings that it is keeping a close watch on the market to ensure sustainable prices," he noted.

"Some HDB flat buyers may be concerned that any introduction of additional cooling measures, even if they are targeted at the private residential property market, could have negative spillover impact on the HDB residential market."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2021, with the headline HDB flats remain hot with 23 million-dollar units sold last month. Subscribe