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Surge in HDB resale transactions in June after circuit breaker restrictions lifted, prices stable

SINGAPORE — The Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale market has roared back to life after Singapore moved to reopen its economy following the two-month long circuit breaker period, with 2,452 units changing hands in June.

Surge in HDB resale transactions in June after circuit breaker restrictions lifted, prices stable

The backlog of demand for HDB resale flats led to a surge in transactions in June 2020, after circuit breaker restrictions were lifted, property analysts said.

  • In June, 2,452 HDB resale properties were sold compared with just 364 in May. This is an increase of more than 570 per cent 
  • Analysts said that the sharp rise was due to the “pent-up demand” from the circuit breaker period
  • Another reason could be because of the aniticpation of another lockdown and deals were made during a "window of opportunity"
  • HDB resale prices are expected to remain quite stable in the coming months though

 

SINGAPORE — The Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale market has roared back to life after Singapore moved to reopen its economy following the two-month long circuit breaker period, with 2,452 units changing hands in June.

This was a 573 per cent increase from May this year, part of the period when the circuit breaker measures restricted real-estate activity. The data is from the latest flash report released on Thursday (July 9) by real estate portal SRX on the HDB resale market.

Despite the massive jump in transactions, HDB resale prices slipped by a modest 0.2 per cent in June compared with May — though prices were 0.8 per cent higher than in June 2019.

Analysts told TODAY that the month-on-month fall is not a significant drop and reflects the stable nature of the HDB market.

RISE IN TRANSACTIONS DUE TO BACKLOG

Analysts agreed that the sharp rise in HDB resale transactions for the month of June was due to the “pent-up demand” from the circuit breaker period, when potential buyers were not allowed to view the properties that were on sale.

In all, 2,452 HDB resale properties changed hands in June, compared with just 364 in May and 423 in April. Volumes were up close to 30 per cent from the 1,936 transactions in June 2019.

Four in 10 of the June 2020 transactions were four-room HDB flats, 26 per cent were three-room flats and 24 per cent were five-room flats. The rest were executive apartments and two room-flats.

Some of the high turnover in June was buyers who had to stop processing their transactions because it was not possible to complete them during the circuit breaker period, which was designed to restrict activities and the movement of people.

Mr Lee Sze Teck, director of research at property agency Huttons Asia, said that the jump in transactions reflected that Singaporeans would want to take the “window of opportunity” to enter the market now, given the possibility of a second lockdown or new restrictions being imposed should Covid-19 cases in the community rise.

Property analyst Ong Kah Seng said that another reason contributing to the increase is the resumption of home renovations during the second phase of the circuit breaker exit.

“Because of the suspension of renovations during the circuit breaker period, buyers who were hoping to get their flats were a bit hesitant, he said, as “generally resale flats are in fairly old conditions and require major renovation works”.

In the long term, analysts said that they expect the HDB resale volume to continue to remain high as the backlog of demand gets cleared, before smoothening out by the end of the year.

However, this is still subject to whether the Covid-19 situation remains under control in the coming months, they said.

HDB RESALE PRICES TO REMAIN STEADY

The SRX report showed that three-room HDB resale prices declined by 0.4 per cent in June compared with May, while four- and five-room flats increased by 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively.

The prices for executive apartments went up by 1.6 per cent.

That being said, analysts expect that HDB resale prices will remain quite stable in the coming months.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of the research and consultancy department at real estate firm ERA Realty, said: “For the HDB market, usually the prices of flats are still quite resilient. They are not subjected to major fluctuations.”

He noted that though Singapore is now facing a lot of economic uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the prices still only dropped by 0.2 per cent.

Mr Mak added that there are a number of conflicting factors that are pulling the HDB price index in opposite directions and therefore, on the whole, he expects the index to remain flat.

One reason is the weak economic conditions and job market that would typically weaken prices, he said.

On the other hand, there are potentially 26,000 flats that will reach the end of their five-year minimum occupation period and are eligible to be sold on the resale market, and this would contribute to the buoyancy of the HDB resale price index.

During times of economic uncertainty, he said, some individuals may also opt to buy HDB flats rather than private properties or executive condominiums.

MILLION DOLLAR TRANSACTIONS

At the top end of the resale market, the report noted that eight HDB resale flats sold for at least S$1 million.

The highest transacted price for a resale flat was a four-room unit at The Pinnacle @ Duxton, located in Tanjong Pagar. It was sold at S$1,186,888.

Mr Ong said that this is not surprising given that the property is a highly sought after public housing project in a centrally located area.

He added that this is a good sign for other sought-after and centrally located new flats, such as the new Built-To-Order projects in Bidadari.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee, said that having eight million-dollar HDB resale transactions is not bad given the current economic downturn.

That being said, Mr Ong does not expect to see many more million-dollar transactions due to the economic recession.

Ms Sun, on the other hand, said that more information is needed on the housing units — such as the size and location — to provide an more in-depth assessment of the market.

Related topics

resale HDB housing economy Covid-19 coronavirus circuit breaker

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