SINGAPORE: Resale prices of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats remained relatively flat last month, a flash report from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) showed.
Overall, HDB resale prices dropped slightly by 0.2 per cent in April compared to March.
This decrease is driven by 3-, 4- and 5-room flats which softened by 0.2 per cent, 0.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. However, prices of executive flats rose 1.2 per cent.
On a year-on-year basis, last month's prices are down 5 per cent from the same period last year.
Steven Tan, managing director of OrangeTee, said: "We thought that the prices could have dropped slightly more than that, if we compare it with the HDB index Q1 figure, which is about 1.6 per cent.
"It shows that in some of the areas, for some types of HDB resale flats, the prices are stabilising."
Resale volume rose in April with 1,484 units sold -- the highest since July last year when 1,494 units exchanged hands.
Buyers have also been more conservative after changes to the HDB resale process.
It has been about two months since HDB changed its resale procedure to shift the attention of buyers and sellers away from the Cash-Over-Valuation (COV) component when negotiating a deal for a HDB resale flat. This means that both parties have to agree on a price first, before being able to find out the valuation of the unit.
Mr Tan added: "With the change of the resale policy, we also noticed that more buyers are more conservative when it comes to negotiation.
"But having looked at the overall outcome, we feel that for some areas, the impact of this new policy is greater. But for some highly sought after areas, buyers are prepared to stick to the price or even offer a higher price.
"A good example is Jurong East and Queenstown, where the prices are higher than the last transaction, due to the location and the limited supply."
Thus, analysts said it has become more of a buyers' market, with sellers also more willing to negotiate.
Firdaus A.B., a resale flat seller, said: "We used to follow the valuation report. Now they will just bargain more. (It is now more difficult to) sell my house."
With prices stabilising, analysts said that more people are also returning to the HDB resale market.
Last month's sales volume (1,484 units) was a 4.4 per cent increase from March, when 1,422 units were sold.
On a year-on-year basis, April's resale volume is still 14.4 per cent down compared with 1,733 units resold in the same period last year.
Johnny Goh, head of training and agency at DWG Real Estate, said: "January, February is our festive period and many people have just started work after their year-end holidays. And followed by the policy announcement on March 10, they'll adopt a wait and see attitude. But after seeing prices not really coming down, they've started to come back."
Meanwhile, rental volume also fell, with an estimated 1,653 units rented last month, a 3.8 per cent decrease from March's 1,718 units.
On a year-on-year basis, April's rental volume was 5.3 per cent lower than the same month of last year where 1,746 units were rented out.
Rental prices continued to soften, dropping by 1.1 per cent overall in April compared to March. This decrease is driven by 3- and 4-room flats which softened by 2.9 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.
However, rental prices of 5-room and executive flats saw an increase of 0.4 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively.
On a year-on-year basis, prices in April are down 2.3 per cent from the same period last year.
Overall median Transaction Over X-value (TOX), which measures how much people pay over recent transaction prices, has remained negative at -S$4,000 for the overall HDB market.
This means more than half of all HDB buyers paid below recent transaction prices for their units in April. This is a drop of S$1,000 from March.
Among HDB towns with more than 10 transactions, Queenstown and Jurong East had the highest median TOX at +S$2,500 and +S$2,400 respectively. This means more than half of the buyers in these towns paid above recent transaction prices.
Out of 26 HDB towns, only five -- Ang Mo Kio, the Central Area, Jurong East, Queenstown and Sembawang -- saw a positive median TOX.
Punggol and Yishun had the lowest median TOX at -S$9,000 and -S$8,000 respectively.
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