SINGAPORE: The number of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats sold in the resale market in the third quarter rose by 127.3 per cent after the lifting of Singapore's "circuit breaker" in June.
Official figures released on Friday (Oct 23) showed that 7,787 flats were sold from July to September this year, rising from the 3,426 sold in the second quarter.
On a year-on-year basis, the number of resale transactions in the third quarter was up 24.3 per cent, according to HDB data.
Prices also went up 1.5 per cent from Q2 to Q3, with the resale price index – which provides information on the general price movements in the resale public housing market – increasing to 133.9.
Singapore started a circuit breaker on Apr 7 to curb the spread of COVID-19. As cases fell, the country began a gradual reopening, with Phase 1 starting on Jun 2 and Phase 2 on Jun 19.
The public housing market posted a "stunning rebound" after clocking "historically low sales" in the second quarter of this year, when house viewings were barred during the circuit breaker period, said head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie Christine Sun.
"The fast turnaround in the property market could be fuelled by the aggressive stimulus packages unleashed globally to weather the economic fallout of the pandemic," she said.
"Strong government intervention and various financial assistance schemes such as loan deferments may have prevented widespread mortgage defaults and flat prices from tumbling."
The increase in prices could "possibly be attributed" to many newer HDB resale flats being sold last quarter.
"Some sellers may have also increased their asking price in light of the rising demand for HDB flats," said Ms Sun.
Some demand could also have been drawn from the Build-To-Order (BTO) market, she added.
"Many BTO flats from recent launches were slated to be completed in four to five years’ time and the long waiting period drove some buyers to the resale market especially for couples with urgent accommodation needs.
"Many BTO launches were also heavily oversubscribed and unsuccessful candidates had to turn to the resale market as an alternative," Ms Sun said.
HDB will launch about 9,300 BTO flats in various estates in November this year and February 2021.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, HDB is monitoring the situation, and will make adjustments where necessary," said HDB.
The next Sale of Balance Flats exercise is also scheduled to be launched in November with the BTO exercise, "barring any unforeseen circumstances".