HDB flat resale prices increased in 3Q2023, though with a slower pace. The flash estimates published by HDB on October 2 reveal that prices for resales increased 1.2% q-o-q in 3Q2023 which was the 14.3 consecutive period of growing. The increase in prices is not as high as what the 1.5% q-o-q growth recorded in the 2Q2023 period as well as 2Q2023’s 2.5% average quarterly growth recorded in 2022.
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The slow growth in flat resale prices could suggest that price resistance is forming with concerns about affordability and inflation according to Christine Sun, senior vice director of research and analysis of OrangeTee & Tie. Since the beginning of 2018, resale flat prices have risen 3.8%, significantly lower than the 8% rise that was recorded in 2022 as well as in comparison to the 9.1% increase recorded in 2021 over the same time.
The total of 6,592 resales flat transactions were reported by HDB in 3Q2023. 2.9% higher than the prior quarter, however 9.7% lower y-o-y. This is the lowest volume of 3Q seen in the last three years after the year 2000, HDB states. Sun says the higher volume is due to the more generous grants granted to first-time home buyers which have been announced by the government in February, as part budget 2023. There was also an extension of the launch date for August’s Build-to-Order (BTO) launches of sales.
Mohan Sandrasegeran, head of research and data analytics at SRI Mohan Sandrasegeran, SRI’s head of research and data analytics, is. He says that November’s BTO process, which usually involves sales of flats with balance was moved to December. “The changes in the timing of the exercise is likely to have prompted families in dire requirement of housing shift their focus to the HDB resales market, as it’s a faster and more accessible option” the expert says.
Lee Sze Teck, senior director of data analytics at Huttons Asia, observes that the greater resales price and the increased volume of transactions are a result of the changes to housing policies that were made public during the National Day Rally on Aug 20. In 2H2024 BTO projects will be reflected in the new classification system which separates new flats based on geographical attributes as opposed to the prior system of categorizing housing estates into “mature” or “non-mature”.
The new system will mean that BTO homes will soon be classified in three categories: standard, Plus or Prime flats. Standard flats are available across the island and will be accompanied by regular subsidies and limitations. Plus flats are located situated in HDB projects that are not in the Central Area but are in “choicer places” close to MRT stations or other amenities. Prime flats are nearer to the city’s centre. Additionally, Prime apartments include more subsidies as well as more stringent restrictions like an extended minimum occupancy period of 10 years, and restrictions on rental of the property.
Due to this upcoming reclassification has been shifting to resales of existing flats in older estates that are not subject to restrictions on resales, says Huttons’ Lee. He says that buyers are prepared take a higher price for these flats, which could have led to the greater amount of million-dollar flats resold in transactions.
The data from data.gov.sg indicate that there were of 127 flats sold to resales that were worth at minimum $1 million during 3Q2023, which is 21% higher than the prior quarter. The month of August saw 54 million dollar flat transactions were made, fifty of them were in estates with a long history, Lee points out. Lee expects the million dollar HDB transactions to be in excess of 400 throughout the year.
In the future, HDB says about 6,800 BTO flats located in Choa Chu Kang, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown and Tengah will be available in the coming sales launch that will begin in October. In December, about 6000 additional flats will be put for sale in estates like Bukit Panjang Jurong West, Woodlands, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Merah and Queenstown.
The rising supply, along with ongoing concerns about affordability, could limit the resale price increase to a flat level as per. OrangeTee & Tie’s Sun. “Prices could decrease for the remainder this year and the full-year increase being around four% up to 5.5%,” she says.