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Sales of HDB resale flats rose 1.2%, resale prices up 0.5% in Q4 2019

[SINGAPORE] More Housing Board resale flats changed hands in the fourth quarter of last year and their prices inched up, latest public housing figures show.

There were 6,339 resale transactions in the fourth quarter, compared with 6,264 cases in the third quarter, the Housing Board said on Thursday.

The fourth quarter's figure last year was also 12.5 per cent higher than the number of resale transactions in the fourth quarter of 2018.

For the whole year of 2019, resale transactions increased by 2.7 per cent, from 23,099 cases to 23,714 cases.

Meanwhile, the prices of resale flats rose by 0.5 per cent from the previous three months, making resale prices in 2019 0.1 per cent higher than the year before.

Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, said the HDB resale market staged a "surprising turnaround" in the third quarter last year, after prices dipped for 11 consecutive quarters since the fourth quarter of 2016.

She said this could be due to the cumulative effect of government policies.

"A number of important changes were made last year such as allowing buyers greater flexibility in using CPF to buy older flats and enhancing the CPF Housing Grant to increase housing affordability for more Singaporeans," she noted.

Five-room flats in Bukit Merah fetched the highest median resale price at S$783,500 between October and December last year, followed by four-room flats in Queenstown at S$750,000, and those in Toa Payoh at S$738,000.

Latest figures also showed that HDB approved 0.6 per cent more applications to rent out flats in the last quarter of 2019 than the previous quarter. It approved 12,079 applications, up from 12,006 in the third quarter of the year.

At the end of December 2019, there were 57,224 HDB flats were rented out, up 1.3 per cent over the 56,474 units rented out by the end of September.

This year, HDB will launch about 16,000 to 17,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats for sale.

In February, it will offer about 3,000 such units in Sembawang and Toa Payoh.

In May, 3,700 BTO flats in Choa Chu Kang, Pasir Ris, Tampines and Tengah will also be open to prospective buyers.

THE STRAITS TIMES