HDB resale prices dip, delaying market rebound

0.7% fall reverses slight rise in July, continues trend of flat prices over the past year

Site tour of Dawson and Waterway Ridges.
Site tour of Dawson and Waterway Ridges. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Resale prices for Housing Board (HDB) flats dipped by 0.7 per cent in August over the previous month, reversing the slight rise in July and further delaying a market rebound.

August HDB resale prices were also down 0.2 per cent from a year ago, according to latest flash figures from SRX Property.

Last month's price dip was led by that of four-room flats, which slid 1 per cent from July, as well as three- and five-room flats, which both inched down 0.6 per cent. Executive flat prices rose 0.8 per cent.

The overall price dip in August was seen across flats in mature and non-mature estates, which decreased by 0.4 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

Since their peak in April 2013, HDB resale flat prices have slid 11.5 per cent, SRX Property data showed.

This continues the trend of relatively flat prices over the past year, which experts said dispel any hope of an imminent price surge.

Noting that the August prices simply corrected the shifts in July, R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said: "Any price rebound is unsustainable as overall public housing sentiments remain weak."

Chief executive of International Property Advisor, Mr Ku Swee Yong, said the sombre economic outlook, affected by recent developments such as Brexit, will continue to keep a lid on prices.

Still, the volume of flats that changed hands last month went up by almost a fifth - from 1,573 units in July to 1,879 flats in August. This is about 30 per cent more than the 1,447 units resold a year ago.

Research head for SLP International Property Consultants Nicholas Mak, however, noted that the resale volume simply reverted to levels in June and May, which each saw a little over 1,800 units transacted.

An increase in transactions in August is nonetheless unusual, given that the month coincides with the Hungry Ghost Festival, which is traditionally unpopular with superstitious buyers.

Mr Ong said some transactions could have come from "opportunity buying", in which buyers were offered low prices by owners in a hurry to sell their flats.

"Some owners might be trying to offload their current flats because their new flats or executive condominiums have been completed.

"Most buyers have reservations during the seventh lunar month, but if prices are attractive it's a good chance for them to get good deals."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'HDB resale prices dip, delaying market rebound'. Print Edition | Subscribe