Saturday, June 9, 2012

HDB resale prices rise at quicker pace, bucking trend

Straits Times: Sat, Jun 09
PRICES of Housing Board (HDB) resale flats rose at a quicker pace in April and May.

According to the latest data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), the median price of an HDB resale unit has risen by 2 per cent over the last two months.

This bucks the trend of slower price appreciation since the middle of last year, due to the imposition of cooling measures in the property market and an aggressive rollout of new launches by the HDB.

SRX data - which covers 85 per cent of resale property transactions in Singapore - also showed a surge in the number of HDB resale transactions in the last two months compared to the first quarter of the year.

Some 4,092 flats changed hands in the two months, compared to 5,151 in the first quarter.

The median resale price currently stands at $438,000, said SRX, after stagnating at $430,000 in the first quarter of this year.

In the last quarter of last year, it had gone up by 1.2 per cent compared to the third quarter of last year.

Resale flats in Bukit Panjang, Bukit Merah and Marine Parade saw the biggest price jumps, with median prices in these towns rising by more than 7 per cent over the two months...

Analysts expect the HDB's quarterly Resale Price Index, due next month, to show a similar quickening over this period.

It had climbed 0.6 per cent in the first quarter, its slowest pace since 2009.

But property analysts said it is too soon to conclude that the HDB resale market is entering another bull run.

In the past five years, prices have spiked 84 per cent, correcting only once - by 0.8 per cent in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

Mr Alan Cheong, Savills Singapore's director of research and consultancy, noted that the pace of price increase is usually slower in the first quarter of the year due to seasonal reasons.

Buyers are less active around festive periods like Chinese New Year.

Excitement over the HDB's measures to cool the market - such as promising to offer 50,000 more new flats over two years and boosting chances for newly married couples to get their first flat - 'may also have faded by now', he said...
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Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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