Posted: 25 January 2013 0920 hrs
SINGAPORE: Prices for public housing resale flats have continued to climb and reached a record high in the fourth quarter of last year.
The Housing and Development Board's Resale Price Index rose by 2.5 per cent, from 197.9 in the third quarter to 202.9 in the fourth.
This is the same as the flash estimates released earlier this month.
This brings the full-year growth for 2012 to 6.6 per cent - the slowest growth in five years, and a drop from the double-digit growth in the last two years.
Analysts expect price growth to moderate this year to around three per cent.
Data from property firm PropNex shows the median cash premium, or Cash-Over-Valuation, of resale public flats reached around S$33,000 in the fourth quarter of last year.
A 10 per cent increase over the third quarter, which saw COVs reach S$30,000... and a 30 per cent growth over the last six months.
PropNex data revealed median COV hovered at S$25,000 in the first and second quarters of 2012.
Data from HSR International showed a similar 30 per cent increase.
Median COV rose from S$26,000 to S$34,000 from the third to the fourth quarter.
ERA Realty Network's Key Executive Officer Eugene Lim said his firm's data showed the largest increase came from executive flats with an increase of 25 per cent.
Mr Lim pointed out that executive flats are rare and as there is more demand than supply, a higher COV is resulted.
Mr Donald Han, Special Advisor at HSR Property Consultants, said: "If you look at certain popular townships, for instance in Punggol, like in Tampines, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, some of the larger HDB flats actually saw a six-month increase of as much as about 50 to 60 per cent."
Analysts attribute the high COVs to the tight supply of resale flats in the market.
In the last quarter of 2012, resale transactions fell by about 14 per cent.
HDB said there were 5,631 transactions in the fourth quarter, down from 6,560 in the third.
This is though there was a slight two per cent increase in overall transactions for the year 2012, compared to 2011.
Mr Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex, said: "A lot of people are holding on to their HDB units. Main reason being, property prices have gone up so much and as we witness crossing the 200 point index for the first time. Anybody who's selling a public housing (flat), even if he wants to buy, he's burdened with a higher loan and a bigger property will cost much higher.
Earlier in the month, the government announced a slew of property cooling measures to cool demand. And on the supply side, the HDB has said it will build 23,000 new Build-To-Order flats this year. Though analysts say it will take a while before the impact of these measures are felt.
Observers say there won't be sharp drops in prices immediately... but the overall growth this year is expected to moderate to around three per cent.
Mr Mohamed Ismail estimates a three to five per cent growth for this year.
"High probability of about three per cent price increment for HDB for the rest of the year, which is a relatively good thing in my view. That means HDB properties which is an asset own by million owners in Singaporeans, it's not going to nosedive or price started to crash, however it keep pace with inflation and demand economy growth. A two to three per cent is warmly welcomed," he said.
Mr Han added: "We'll still see an increase in terms of pricing but not to the extent of 6.6 per cent, more of 2 to 3 per cent for this year. Moving into next year when the bulk of your first round BTO campaign is built and completed, we'd probably expect more supply introduced in the form of resale flats from those moving into BTOs and potentially we'll probably be seeing for next year's expectation for resale flats to remain fairly flat-ish, anything between zero to one per cent growth."
The HDB will be launching its first batch of BTO flats for the year later this month.
A total of 3,346 flats will be on offer in Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Kallang-Whampoa, Tampines and Yishun.
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