SINGAPORE - Prices in the Housing Board resale market rose for the 11th consecutive quarter, even as price growth slowed and the number of transactions declined on the back of property cooling measures that kicked in on Sept 30 last year.
Resale prices rose at a slower pace of 2.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2022, compared with 2.6 per cent in the third quarter, data released by HDB on Friday showed.
This was the slowest quarter-to-quarter price growth in 2022, noted HDB.
Resale prices grew by 10.4 per cent in the whole of 2022, slower than the 12.7 per cent rise in 2021, it added.
Property analysts said price growth has moderated as buyers resist higher prices amid rising interest rates and the latest round of property curbs.
The curbs include a tightened loan-to-value limit of 80 per cent for HDB loans, and an interest rate floor of 3 per cent for HDB loan eligibility letter applications from Sept 30. Also, private home owners who wish to buy HDB resale flats now have to wait for 15 months after selling their homes.
Huttons Asia senior director of research Lee Sze Teck said: “The higher borrowing costs are eating into buyers’ budgets, and they are also baulking at the prospect of paying cash over valuation, given that economic conditions have turned cloudy in the second half of 2022.”
But the preference for larger HDB flats, as work-from-home and hybrid working arrangements become the norm, pushed up prices in the past year, said PropertyGuru head of real estate intelligence Lee Nai Jia.
“Rising resale flat prices have spurred some buyers to take a pre-emptive approach and purchase a larger unit before they are priced out of the market for these flat types,” he said, adding that the dwindling supply of bigger flats allows them to command higher prices.
A total of 6,597 HDB resale flats changed hands in the last quarter of 2022, a decline of 12.6 per cent from the 7,546 in the previous quarter, when the number of transactions went up after falling for three quarters.
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2021, when 7,940 resale flats were sold, resale transactions were down by 16.9 per cent.
In 2022, total resale volumes were 10.1 per cent lower than in 2021.
OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun said that sales performance last year was healthy, given the record-high prices and stiff competition as more than 23,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats were launched.
The last quarter saw 93 HDB resale flats changing hands for at least $1 million, down from the peak of 111 in the previous quarter.
A record 370 million-dollar flats were transacted in 2022, up from 259 such deals in 2021. These make up 1.38 per cent of total transactions for the year.
According to HDB data, five-room flats in the mature estate of Bukit Merah were the most expensive in the last quarter, with a median price of $899,000, up from $875,000 in the previous quarter.
This was followed by Bishan, where the median price of a five-room flat was $877,500, rising from $855,000 in the previous quarter.
HDB data did not provide the fourth-quarter median resale price of four- and five-room flats in the central area, which covers The Pinnacle@Duxton, as there were fewer than 20 transactions.
Despite an estimated 31,000 HDB flats reaching their minimum occupation period last year, resale flats sold with a lease start date of 2017 were in the minority, noted One Global Group senior analyst Mohan Sandrasegeran.
“It is likely that some home owners chose not to sell their property because they plan to continue living in it as owner-occupiers, while others chose to rent out their flats to take advantage of the red-hot rental market,” he added.
In the HDB rental market, more flats were leased in the last quarter of 2022, up slightly by 0.5 per cent to 56,647 units, compared with 56,372 in the previous quarter.
The number of approved applications to rent out HDB flats rose by 3.5 per cent to 8,476 in the last quarter.
Rents for five-room flats in Queenstown were the highest, with a median of $4,200 a month, up from $3,600 in the previous quarter.
Ms Sun said rents have escalated as tenants are signing longer leases, which will progressively lead to fewer homes for rent.
“However, a worsening economic outlook and inflation may mitigate steep rental hikes. Therefore, we may see rents rising at a slower pace of between 15 per cent and 18 per cent this year,” she added.
PropertyGuru’s Dr Lee said demand for HDB resale flats is likely to gradually taper off in 2023, as more BTO projects are completed and launched quarterly. “The momentum of price appreciation is expected to slow down, and the HDB resale market should stabilise in the coming quarter, barring any economic shocks,” he added.
Huttons’ Mr Lee expects prices to increase by not more than 5 per cent, while Ms Sun estimates prices to grow at a slower pace of 5 per cent to 8 per cent for the whole of 2023.
HDB said it will launch up to 23,000 BTO flats in 2023, and monitor housing demand to adjust flat launches as needed.
In February, it will roll out about 4,400 BTO flats in towns such as Jurong West, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown and Tengah.
In May, between 3,800 and 4,800 flats will be on offer in towns such as Bedok, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown, Serangoon and Tengah.