HDB flats along Whampoa River. The next BTO sales exercise next month will offer 4,400 flats and will comprise new developments in Jurong West, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown, and Tengah.
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Based on the latest quarterly HDB price statistics released on Jan 27, flat resale prices increased by 2.3% q-o-q in 4Q2022. This brings the total price increase for 2022 to 10.4% compared to the 12.7% price gain recorded in 2021.
This also marks the fourth consecutive annual increase in HDB resale prices since 2019, and last quarter’s price growth is the slowest quarterly pace since 3Q2020.
The total number of HDB resale transactions fell to 6,597 in 4Q2022, down from 7,546 transactions in the previous quarter. The number of transactions in 4Q2022 was 16.9% lower than in 2021.
The slowdown is attributed to a more muted market activity due to the seasonal lull at the end of the year, as well as new property cooling measures introduced in September last year, says Wong Siew Ying, PropNex Realty's head of research and content.
This is echoed by Lee Sze Teck, senior director of research at Huttons Asia, who adds that price growth in the HDB resale markets began to moderate slightly from 2H2022 because of price resistance from buyers and higher interest rates.
“The higher borrowing costs are eating into buyers’ budgets, and buyers are also baulking at the prospect of paying cash over valuation given that economic conditions have turned cloudy in 2H2022,” says Lee.
HDB resale buyers are growing more resistant to high flat prices and COV given higher borrowing costs and uncertain economic conditions. Pictured is Punggol Sapphire, a BTO development which saw a loft unit fetch a record $1.22 million last month. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
Additionally, the government stepped in with market intervention measures to cool rising HDB flat prices last year, prompted by concerns that the prices of some four- and five-room flats were starting to get out of reach for most buyers.
“The spike in the number of HDB resale flats sold for at least $1 million in 2022, which saw 370 units compared to 259 flats in the previous year, also played a part in fuelling concerns over housing affordability,” adds Wong.
The latest property cooling measures rolled out on Sept 30 target private property owners buying large-sized HDB resale flats. “The impact is felt immediately on the ground as several private property owners cannot obtain a waiver from HDB and had to cancel their purchase,” says Lee. (Find HDB flats for rent or sale with our Singapore HDB directory)
The latest resale statistics show that the number of million-dollar flats that changed hands fell from 111 in 3Q2022 to 93 in 4Q2022. Overall, the number of flats fetched at least a million dollars or more accounted for 1.3% of the total resale transactions in FY2022.
Ramping up supply
HDB also provided more information on the upcoming Build-To-Order (BTO) flat supply for 2023. The next BTO sales exercise next month will offer 4,400 flats and will comprise new developments in Jurong West, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown, and Tengah. Subsequently, the May 2023 BTO sales exercise will offer between 3,800 to 4,800 flats in developments across Bedok, Kallang and Whampoa, Queenstown, Serangoon, and Tengah. The statutory board says it will offer up to 23,000 BTO flats this year and will continue to monitor housing demand and adjust where necessary.
“The message from the government is that it is determined to ramp up the supply of BTO flats to meet the housing needs of Singaporeans. Reading between the lines, it also means that it is determined to tame the rising HDB resale prices,” says Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty.
But the critical factor that will influence buyers to flock back to BTO flats will be the government’s success in shortening the waiting time for new BTO developments, says Mak.
An upcoming BTO project in Kallang/Whampoa that will be included in the Feb 2023 BTO sales exercise. (Map: HDB)
Research by Huttons Asia shows that the number of two-room and more extensive flats that reached their five-year MOP (minimum occupation period) in 2022 was 30,199. But it expects this figure to fall by nearly 50% this year to just 15,364 flats. This will “drastically reduce the number of ‘newer’ flats for resale,” says Lee.
This also means that the HDB rental market is expected to remain in favour of landlords due to the lower supply of incoming rentable flats, says Mak.
'Healthy' resale performance
The resale performance of the HDB market in 2022 is considered ‘healthy’, says Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie. The secondary market still pulled off a strong showing despite flat prices in some towns reaching record highs, and sellers face stiff competition from a bumper crop of BTO launches, she says.
In addition, many homeowners held back on putting their flats up for sale last quarter, adopting a ‘wait-and’see’ approach, says Mohan Sandrasegeran, senior analyst, research and content at One Global Group.
“It is likely some (sellers) may have decided to wait for market conditions to improve or to observe the impact of the latest cooling measures to take effect or be reviewed before putting their flats up for sale,” says Sandrasegeran.
He adds that more than 100,000 applicants vied for the 23,000 BTO flats launched last year. Although the government has signalled its intention to ramp up the supply of BTO over the next few years, demand for BTO supply often far outstrips supply, says Sandrasegeran.
PropNex expects to see HDB prices moderate further this year to an increase of 6% to 8% in light of high-interest rates, price resistance from buyers, property cooling measures, and a downbeat economic outlook. “Meanwhile, demand for HDB resale flats is expected to remain stable in 2023, and we project that some 27,000 to 28,000 flats could be resold this year, relatively on par with 2022,” says Wong.