SINGAPORE: Resale prices in the public housing market rose 3 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 from the previous quarter, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said on Friday (Apr 23).
The resale price index, which provides information on the general price movements in the resale public housing market, rose from 138.1 to 142.2, data from the HDB showed. That is slightly above flash estimates released by the HDB earlier this month.
It represents the fourth consecutive quarter of growth in prices despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
HDB prices are “inching closer” to the peak prices recorded in the second quarter of 2013, said Ms Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee and Tie.
HDB resale transactions surged 28.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period last year, when the COVID-19 outbreak started. Compared with the last quarter of 2020, transactions fell slightly by 0.8 per cent – from 7,642 to 7,581.
Sales volume has remained above 7,500 for three consecutive quarters.
“Last quarter, many flats were sold with cash over valuation. Multiple offers and price bidding wars for choice flats were common as buyers were willing to shell out extra for premium flats as they believe that supply of these flats is limited especially for newer resale flats in mature estates,” said Ms Sun.
Overall resale volume dipped slightly in the last quarter on the back of rising resale prices and increasing cash over valuation, she added.
“The supply and demand imbalance of flats has also caused prices of HDB resale flats to climb in certain locations,” she said.
UPCOMING BTO LAUNCHES
The HDB will offer about 3,800 Build-to-Order (BTO) flats in Bukit Merah, Geylang, Tengah, and Woodlands in May.
In August, the housing board will offer about 4,900 BTO flats in Hougang, Jurong East, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown and Tampines.
“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.
The HDB resale market is likely to see a "continual stream" of new entrants in the coming months, said Ms Sun.
"Supply of BTO flats in the upcoming project launches will continue to be limited and the number of unsuccessful BTO flat applicants will remain high especially for popular sites or mature estates. Unsuccessful BTO flat applicants may turn to the HDB resale market to satisfy their housing needs," she added.
The completion period for BTO projects that are yet to be launched is expected to remain long due to a backlog of projects facing construction delays due to COVID-19.
"The situation could be exacerbated as further construction delays may be expected as a result of new quarantine orders arising from the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases in certain dormitories," she added.
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From 11.59pm on Friday, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to India within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore after a spike in COVID-19 cases in India.
Education Minister and co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong said in a press conference on Thursday that many of the new arrivals from India work in the construction, marine and process sectors.
The new measure may affect the progress of construction projects, including homes, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in a Facebook post.
"We will work with Housing & Development Board, private developers and construction companies to see how their projects can be brought back on track," added Mr Lee.