HDB flat rentals dropped 0.8% in March from February but rental volume up 45.3%

Quarter-on-quarter, estimates showed that  HDB rents for the first quarter of the year have dropped 0.7 per cent.
Quarter-on-quarter, estimates showed that HDB rents for the first quarter of the year have dropped 0.7 per cent.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Housing Board flat rentals dropped slightly in March from February, even as rental volume jumped, according to latest estimates from SRX Property  released on Wednesday (April 11).

Rents for HDB flats fell by 0.8 per cent in March from February. Compared with a year ago, rents in March were down by 2.4 per cent. March rents were also down 15.6 per cent compared with the peak in August 2013.

Even so, HDB rental volume was up 45.3 per cent in March over February, with an estimated 2,036 flats rented in March compared with 1,401 units in the month before.

The jump in rental volume could be attributed to a rise in transactions following a seasonal dip, said Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at real estate agency OrangeTee & Tie.

“Leasing activity usually picks up after the Chinese New Year festivities, which is traditionally a lull period for all property transactions,” said Ms Sun.

However, rental volume in March fell by 3.6 per cent from a year ago.

Estimates showed that rents for the first quarter of the year  dropped 0.7 per cent from the fourth quarter of last year.

Rentals for three-room, four-room and five-room HDB flats fell in March by 0.7 per cent, 1.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively from the previous month. Rentals for HDB executive units rose by 2.5 per cent.

For mature estates, HDB rents fell 1.1 per cent in March from February. Compared with a year ago, March rents dipped 2 per cent.

As for non-mature estates, March rents slipped 0.5 per cent month-on-month. Year-on-year, rents fell 2.8 per cent.

The highest median monthly rent for HDB flats in March was $3,400 for five-room flats in the central area. This was followed by $3,000 for four-room flats also in the central area, and $2,950 for five-room flats in Bukit Merah.

For the remainder of 2018, HDB rents are expected to stabilise, said Ms Sun.

“Foreign workforce numbers have stabilised from 2016 to 2017, and so the numbers are expected to remain stable for the rest of the year,” she said.