HDB resales drop in February, with no change in prices: SRX

HDB resale transactions resumed their downtrend in February amid the Chinese New Year lull, after January enjoyed the first month-on-month increase in sales since last July’s cooling measures.

Last month, 1,313 HDB resale flats changed hands, 15.8 per cent less than in January, according to flash estimates from real estate portal SRX on Thursday.

Year on year though, last month’s sales volume was 9.9 per cent higher than the 1,195 units sold in February 2018.

HDB resale prices were unchanged last month, in comparison to January.

Compared to February last year, prices last month dipped by 0.5 per cent, and were 13.9 per cent down from their peak in April 2013.

Observing that sellers are generally taking a longer time to offload their HDB flats, Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee, said: “The slower sales may be attributed mainly to the Chinese New Year festivities and lingering concerns about the depreciating leases of ageing flats. ”

She added that prices of HDB resale flats have generally fallen faster than private homes in recent months, which could have widened the price gap between the two property classes. Competition may have also stiffened for sellers due to the increased supply of HDB flats reaching their five-year minimum occupation period (MOP), said Ms Sun.

SRX’s data also showed no change to the premium buyers were prepared to pay over market value in February.

For last month, this amount – as measured by SRX’s computer-generated overall median transaction over X-value (TOX) – stayed at negative S$1,000.

Woodlands posted the highest median TOX among HDB towns with more than 10 resale transactions last month at S$5,000, while mature estate Toa Payoh had the lowest TOX of negative S$16,000.

Buyers were less willing to pay more for bigger flats, with the median TOX for four-room and five-room flats at negative S$1,000 and negative S$5,000 respectively.

The median TOX for three-room flats was S$1,000.

Looking ahead, Ms Sun said HDB resale prices for mature estates may see marginal improvement as more than 4,000 flats may be reaching MOP in Bukit Merah, Queenstown and Ang Mo Kio. Some of these newer flats may be able to command quite attractive prices, she said.

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