Updated from : The Straits Times, 2 July 2020
Housing Board resale prices increased marginally in the second quarter of this year amid the Covid-19 outbreak, compared with the first quarter of the year.
The resale price index was 131.8, up 0.2 per cent from the previous quarter, according to HDB flash estimates released yesterday. The prices rose marginally after staying flat in the first quarter of the year.
HDB will release the final figures, with more detailed public housing data, on July 24.
OrangeTee and Tie’s head of research and consultancy Christine Sun said that prices of HDB resale flats had remained relatively stable over the last two quarters, considering that “the macroeconomy is now in completely uncharted waters”.
However, she noted that the HDB resale volume had plummeted significantly in April and May, with only 789 resale flat transactions.
Compared with the same months last year, when 3,985 resale flats were sold, Ms Sun said that last quarter’s low resale volume can be largely attributed to the pandemic and the barring of house viewings during the circuit breaker period.
Therefore, since physical house viewings cannot be conducted, resale demand “naturally” declined.
However, she noted that despite the low sales volume, prices remained relatively firm, indicating that there is little panic selling in the market during the pandemic, which was likely thanks to the hefty stimulus package rolled out by the Government in recent months. “We will likely not see huge price cuts as long as the economy does not deteriorate badly and the unemployment rate remains moderate. We may expect the overall HDB resale price to trend between minus 2 per cent and 1 per cent this year,” she said.
In addition, home owners may view their properties differently amid the circuit breaker period, and many may value their homes more given the work-from-home arrangements. Therefore, many may be unwilling to sell their units at highly discounted prices.
In the long run, other factors such as the supply of Build-To-Order flats and the number of flats reaching minimum occupation period could have a greater impact on the HDB resale market, Ms Sun added.
HDB said that it will offer about 7,800 BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Choa Chu Kang, Geylang, Pasir Ris, Tampines, Tengah and Woodlands next month. Another 5,700 flats in Bishan, Sembawang, Tampines, Tengah and Toa Payoh will be available in November.
Of these, the flats in Choa Chu Kang, Tampines North and Tengah will have a shorter waiting time of two to three years, compared with the usual three to four years.
“Physical house viewings are important for the resale market as most buyers would prefer a physical inspection of the premises before making a purchase,” she said.