HDB resale prices flat in Q1 amid Covid-19 outbreak: Flash estimates

Housing Board resale prices remained flat after two consecutive quarters of increase in 2019. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Housing Board resale prices were flat in the first three months of 2020 amid the Covid-19 outbreak, compared with the last quarter of 2019.

The resale price index was 131.5, the same level as in the last quarter of 2019, according to the latest HDB flash estimates released on Wednesday (April 1).

The prices were flat after two consecutive quarters of increase in 2019.

The final figures, with more detailed public housing data, will be released on April 24.

The HDB said on Wednesday that it will offer about 3,700 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in Choa Chu Kang, Pasir Ris, Tampines and Tengah in May.

In August, it will offer some 4,100 BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Geylang, Tampines and Woodlands.

Of these, the flats in Choa Chu Kang and Tampines will have a shorter waiting time.

OrangeTee and Tie's head of research and consultancy Christine Sun said that prices of HDB resale flats are usually not subject to volatile swings, as most people purchase flats for themselves to live in and not for speculation.

Last year, the Government announced a series of policy changes that included allowing buyers to use more of their Central Provident Fund monies to buy HDB flats, enhancing housing grants for first-time buyers and raising the income ceiling for eligible buyers.

However, Ms Sun said the Covid-19 outbreak may negate the positive impacts of the policy changes that were implemented.

"There could be limited upside for major price growth this year and prices are likely to continue trending sideways in the coming months," she said.

But she noted that the $48 billion Resilience Budget can be a silver lining.

"The hefty stimulus package unveiled by the Government last week to keep unemployment low and the economy running will certainly help to sustain housing demand and ensure prices of flats remain stable in the coming months," she said.

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