HDB resale prices rise 3% in Q2, transactions fall amid Covid-19 curbs

HDB resale volume shrank 6.8 per cent over the previous quarter. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Resale prices for Housing Board flats climbed for the fifth consecutive quarter, though the volume of transactions was hit by tightened Covid-19 measures.

Property analysts expect that prices are likely to rise further, with demand outstripping supply in part due to delays in completion of new HDB flats.

In the second quarter of this year, resale prices rose 3 per cent over the previous three months, matching the increase seen in the first quarter, according to data released by the HDB on Friday (July 23). The figure is higher than HDB's initial estimate of a 2.8 per cent rise made three weeks ago.

HDB resale volume shrank 6.8 per cent over the previous quarter, amid phase two (heightened alert) measures, when households were allowed to receive only two unique visitors each day.

The number of transactions fell to 7,063, down from 7,581 in the first quarter.

Year on year, however, resale transactions were 106.2 per cent higher due to circuit breaker measures in 2020.

Aside from limited viewings during the heightened alert phase in May to June, some sellers' refusal to budge on asking prices also slowed transactions, said Huttons Group chief executive Mark Yip.

Ms Christine Sun, OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics, noted that current resale prices are just 2 per cent below their peak in the second quarter of 2013, and that prices are likely to reach a new high by the second half of 2021.

Resale prices have also risen 6 per cent in the first six months of this year, and 11 per cent since the circuit breaker period in the second quarter of 2020.

While there was a slight pullback in sales volume in the second quarter, buyer demand remains strong and transactions were still higher than pre-pandemic levels, Ms Sun said.

"The strong demand and home supply shortage may keep resale prices elevated in the coming months," she added.

"Construction delays are expected for many Build-To-Order (BTO) projects, and many young couples with urgent housing needs may continue to turn to the resale market, although the supply lag may begin to ease next year when construction activities continue to pick up."

Mr Yip shared these sentiments, noting that the strong price gains reflect the shifting focus from new flats to resale units due to delays in construction completion.

"It may also indicate that more buyers are asking for higher prices, which may result in more instances of cash over valuation," he said.

More than 14,000 resale flats were transacted in the first half of the year, which makes it the highest first half-year sales since 2010, when 17,598 units were sold.

Mr Yip said that the resale market could see sales volume of between 27,000 and 29,000 units this year, and this would be the highest since 2010.

The number of approved applications to rent out HDB flats rose 2.8 per cent to 10,979 cases in the second quarter, compared with the previous three-month period.

Approved rental applications were also 4.2 per cent higher compared with the same period last year.

As at the end of June, there were 57,755 HDB flats rented out, 0.7 per cent lower than the previous quarter.

HDB will launch about 4,900 BTO flats in Queenstown, Kallang/Whampoa, Tampines, Jurong East and Hougang next month.

Another 3,100 to 3,600 BTO flats will be offered in Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong West, Kallang/Whampoa and Tengah in November.

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