SINGAPORE: Prices of resale flats for the third quarter fell 0.2 per cent, continuing a declining trend, according to flash estimates released by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Monday (Oct 1).
The resale price index - which provides information on the general price movements in the resale public housing market - is estimated to have slid to 131.5 from 131.7.
Resale prices for HDB flats have been on the decline over the last year. Prices fell 0.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 and 0.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year, although they inched up 0.1 per cent in the second quarter.
ERA Realty Key Executive Officer Eugene Lim said the decline was within expectations, but that he expects resale demand to pick up.
“The lease decay issue has been largely addressed by PM Lee, and although the finer details have yet to be announced, it should put residents’ mind at ease over the future of their HDB flat,” he said, adding that the Government has also said it is looking into more flexibility for buyers of older flats in using CPF.
The cooling measures announced in July could also have the effect of driving buyers to the HDB resale market, especially those who are on a tighter budget, Mr Lim noted.
PropNex Realty CEO Ismail Gafoor said HDB resale flats will remain in demand with en bloc owners considering bigger-sized flats as their replacement homes.
ERA’s Mr Lim said he expects HDB resale flat prices to remain flat this year, and any price increase or decrease will likely be “very moderate” and not exceed 1.5 per cent for the full year. Mr Ismail said he expects the year to end with prices down 1 per cent, but could take a positive turn next year with a 1 to 2 per cent increase.
HDB also announced on Monday that it will launch about 3,800 Build-to-Order (BTO) flats for sale in Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines, Tengah and Yishun in the November sales exercise. There will also be a concurrent Sale of Balance Flats exercise.
Those who buy the Sengkang and Yishun BTO flats will have a shorter waiting time of two-and-a-half years, instead of the usual three to four years, HDB said.
The housing board said in July last year that some BTO projects will be sold with a shorter waiting time to help young couples get their first home earlier.
READ: HDB to offer BTO flats in Sembawang, Sengkang, Yishun with shorter waiting time
First-timer families applying for these flats will get higher priority, with at least 95 per cent of the four-room and larger flats set aside for them – up from the current quota of at least 85 per cent in non-mature estates.
The flats will come with floor finishes, internal doors and sanitary fittings, reducing renovation works required and enabling home buyers to move in sooner. All units will also come with an open kitchen concept where the layout permits, HDB said.
The resale price index for the full quarter will be released on Oct 26.