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HDB resale market 'resilient' in February even though fewer flats change hands

[SINGAPORE] The Housing Board resale market remained robust in February despite experiencing a seasonal dip from January.

Fewer HDB flats changed hands in February compared with January, as prices inched up by 0.7 per cent.

In all, 1,668 HDB resale flats were sold last month, 13.1 per cent fewer than in January, flash estimates from real estate portal SRX showed on Thursday. The figure reversed the 3.3 per cent increase in January from the preceding month.

It was, however, 26.9 per cent more than the 1,314 units sold in February last year.

Compared with February 2019, prices were 1.0 per cent higher last month.

The prices of flats in non-mature estates fell by 0.3 per cent while flats in mature estates rose by 1.3 per cent compared with January.

The most expensive resale flat last month was a five-room unit at Commonwealth Drive which sold for S$1.1 million. An executive maisonette unit in Hougang Street 21 went for S$858,000, the highest price in a non-mature estate.

There were also five HDB resale flats which transacted for at least S$1 million last month.

Resale flat buyers last month "overpaid", based on what SRX estimates to be the market value for flats. The overall median transaction over X-value (TOX) was a positive S$2,000 last month, an increase of S$2,500 compared with January.

TOX measures how much a buyer is overpaying (positive value) or underpaying (negative value) for a property based on SRX's computer-generated market value. The data includes only districts with more than 10 resale transactions.

Flats in Serangoon recorded the highest median TOX at a positive S$14,000, followed by flats in Geylang, at positive S$7,000.

Meanwhile, flats in Marine Parade recorded the lowest median TOX, at negative S$26,000, followed by flats in Bishan, at negative S$24,500.

OrangeTee & Tie research head Christine Sun noted that the HDB resale market remained largely resilient last month despite the Chinese New Year festive period, which typically sees slower sales activities, and concerns surrounding the Covid-19 coronavirus.

"Resale volume surged significantly compared to the same period a year ago, registering the best performing February sales (period) since 2017," she said.

"As of now, house hunters still seem to be keen on buying properties despite the Covid-19 (situation). Any impact from the virus may likely be short-term."

An estimated 6,799 flats will be eligible to join the HDB resale market in the next three months as these units approach their five-year minimum occupation period.

THE STRAITS TIMES