SINGAPORE: Resale prices in the public housing market climbed 4.8 per cent in 2020, an increase from the 0.1 per cent rise in 2019, according to flash estimates released by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Monday (Jan 4).
According to the flash estimates, prices in the fourth quarter of 2020 rose 2.9 per cent over that in the previous quarter. Prices in the third quarter of 2020 increased by 1.5 per cent.
The resale price index, which provides information on the general price movements in the resale public housing market, rose from 133.9 to 137.8, the HDB estimates showed.
The price increase in the fourth quarter of 2020 was the largest quarterly rise in about 10 years, said OrangeTee & Tie's head of research and consultancy Christine Sun. The last high was recorded in the third quarter of 2011, with a 3.8 per cent increase.
"The market recovery can be attributed to the slew of policy changes made over the past two years to make public housing more affordable for Singaporeans and enhance the attractiveness of older flats," said Ms Sun.
"Many new flats which command higher prices have also been transacted over the past few months, which may have ‘uplifted’ the overall price index last quarter."
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Buyers were willing to "shell out top dollar" for selected flats, Ms Sun said, adding that a record number of 72 resale flats were sold for more than S$1 million in the first 11 months of 2020.
A flat at Pinnacle@Duxton sold at a record price of S$1.258 million in September 2020.
The long completion period for recent Build-to-Order (BTO) launches and rising private home prices may continue to divert demand to the HDB resale market, said Ms Sun.
"Couples who are still doing well in their jobs may proceed with their upgrading plans, while those who are still affected by the pandemic may downgrade from private housing to HDB flats," she added.
"This may result in more flats being put on the market as well as more flats changing hands in the coming months."
Prices of resale flats are expected to rise further by 2 per cent to 5 per cent in 2021, she said.
More detailed data for the fourth quarter of 2020 will be released on Jan 22, said HDB.
COMMUNITY CARE APARTMENTS AMONG BTO LAUNCHES
HDB on Monday announced that it will offer about 3,700 BTO flats in Bukit Batok, Kallang Whampoa, Tengah and Toa Payoh in February.
These include the Community Care Apartments, a new type of public housing targeted at buyers aged 65 and above, with elderly-friendly features and subscription to care services.
In May, HDB will offer another 3,800 BTO flats in Bukit Merah, Geylang, Tengah and Woodlands.
"Given the economic uncertainty due to COVID-19, HDB is monitoring the housing market closely and will calibrate the supply if required," said the board.