News: HDB resale market avoided major price correction during pandemic: OrangeTee & Tie

Aug 5, 2020

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and circuit breaker measures, HDB resale prices remained stable. However, HDB resale transactions fell by over 41.9% to 3,426 units during Q2 2020. 

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertain global economic outlook, Singapore’s HDB resale market avoided a major price correction, with prices remaining surprisingly stable in the past two quarters, revealed OrangeTee & Tie.

HDB public housing data for Q2 2020 showed that HDB resale flat prices marginally increased by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, after holding flat in the previous quarter.

OrangeTee believes the four rounds of aggressive stimulus packages by the government has been effective in preventing a housing market meltdown or property price collapse.

“Currently, prices of flats seemed to be holding firm with no apparent panic selling island-wide,” said Christine Sun, Head of Research & Consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie.

She noted that the various financial assistance measures like allowing eligible homeowners to defer loan repayments, may have helped prevent “a potential tide of loan defaulters from selling their units in haste or offloading their homes at excessively low prices during financial difficulties”.

Moreover, the government’s stringent regulatory measures such as Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR), which limits mortgage loans of homeowners, have also effectively instilled financial prudence among buyers.

“Currently most Singaporeans seem to have the ability to service their housing loans despite the current economic challenges,” said Sun.

But while prices remained stable, the number of resale transactions dropped by over 41.9% to 3,426 units during Q2 2020. On an annual basis, resale volume fell 45.4% from Q2 2019’s 6,276 units.

OrangeTee attributed the sales decline to the tighter safe distancing measures enforced by the government during the pandemic and the circuit breaker period.

“A two-month circuit breaker period was implemented in April and May during which house viewings were barred while social interactions and movements were greatly reduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the community. The HDB office was closed and some transactions could not be completed,” said Sun.

In April, the number of resale transactions fell to 424 units, while May posted a historical monthly low of 363 units, showed HDB data from data.gov.sg.

The HDB resale market roared back to life when the government lifted the circuit breaker measures in early June. Sales volume in June rebounded strongly by 575.2% month-on-month to 2,451 units.

Meanwhile, most mature estates saw HDB resale transactions fall in Q2 2020. In fact, the total number of transactions in these estates declined by 40.4% quarter-on-quarter to 1,329 units in Q2 2020.

Suggested read: HDB Flats in Singapore (2020): Are Resale Units Really More Expensive Than BTOs?

Tampines emerged as the most popular estate, with 217 units sold during the period under review, followed by Bedok and Ang Mo Kio with 180 and 161 units sold, respectively.

Bishan registered the highest average price for a flat at $630,923, followed by Bukit Timah and Queenstown at $621,300 and $601,852, respectively.

Sales volume at non-mature estates fell by a bigger magnitude when compared to mature estates, at 41.4% to 1,909 units last quarter.

Despite the drop in sales, more than 200 units were shifted across many estates in Q2 2020, including Yishun which saw 283 units sold, Sengkang with 260 units and Woodlands with 223 units. Jurong West and Punggol also sold 210 and 200 units, respectively.

Hougang recorded the highest average price for a flat at $455,936, followed by Punggol and Sengkang at $449,226 and $445,635, respectively.

Looking ahead, OrangeTee expects demand for HDB resale flat to return to some normalcy over the coming months given that house viewings have fully resumed.

However, it expects total resale transaction for this year to be lower than the previous year at about 18,000 to 20,000 units.

“At this juncture, a significant price correction is rather remote unless the pandemic deteriorates rapidly and our unemployment rate rises significantly,” said Sun.

“Nonetheless, a supply overhang with many HDB flats reaching their five-year Minimum Occupation Period may continue to exert some downward pressure on prices. The overall resale price could range between -2 and 1 per cent this year,” she added.

Suggested read: 5 BTO Projects That Have Recently Crossed their 5-Year HDB MOP in 2020

 

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

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