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Fewer HDB resale flats sold in August, but prices inch up

Fewer HDB resale flats sold in August, but prices inch up.

Fewer Housing Board resale flats were sold last month compared with the previous month, but their prices moved up slightly. In all, 1,921 such flats changed hands, a 9.4 % drop from the figure in July, real estate portal SRX Property said yesterday when releasing its preliminary figures.

But when compared with a year ago, last month's decline was 7.6 %. Four-room flats made up 42.2 % of the units sold last month. Five-room flats were at 23.7 % and three-room flats were at 23.4 %, while executive flats made up 8.3 %. The rest were multi-generation and two-room flats.

Resale flat prices moved up 0.1 % last month over July figures, but were down 0.6 % from the figures a year ago. Compared with the peak in April 2013, the price decline was 14.1 %.

But prices in non-mature estates rose by 0.4 % year on year, while those in mature estates fell 2.1 %. A five-room flat at The Pinnacle@Duxton was sold at the top price of $1.2 million last month. It is one of eight HDB resale flats priced at more than $1,000 per sq ft this year.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old executive flat in Hougang was sold for $831,500, the highest price in a non-mature estate. SRX forecasts that in the next three months, 1,511 flats will enter the HDB resale market as they approach their five-year minimum occupation period.

Its calculations show that people are not likely to overpay what it estimates to be the market value for flats. Its data shows that the overall median transaction over X-value (TOX) remained negative $1,000 last month.

The median TOX measures whether people are overpaying (in the case of a positive TOX) or underpaying (when it is a negative TOX) relative to the SRX Property X-value estimated market value for flats.

HDB executive flats recorded a positive median TOX of $3,000 last month, while three-room, four-room and five-room flats recorded negative median TOX of $3,000, $1,000 and $1,000, respectively.

Flats in Bukit Batok recorded the highest median TOX, at positive $11,000, while those in Bishan recorded the lowest median TOX, at negative $17,000.

OrangeTee & Tie's head of research and consultancy Christine Sun said the drop in the August sales volume was expected, as sales activities are usually slower during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival.

But she noted that last month's resale volume was above the 12-month average of 1,830 units from August last year to July this year. "This indicates that demand for resale flats is still resilient. Resale flats remain an attractive housing option for buyers, given their price affordability," she said.

"Demand for older flats may have also increased in the light of the recent Central Provident Fund (CPF) changes which allow some buyers to use more CPF to purchase these flats." But it is still a buyers' market.

"We can expect resale prices to remain soft as competition is likely to stiffen further with more flats reaching their minimum occupation period in the coming months," Ms Sun added.

Adapted From The Straits Times, Sep 6 2019