Soft landing likely for HDB market

Soft landing likely for HDB market

SINGAPORE- At the start of last year, the question was whether the Government would succeed in its policies to cool down an exuberant housing market.

A year on, Housing Board resale prices have slipped, cash premiums have fallen and fewer flats are changing hands.

Is the HDB resale market in danger of a hard landing?

Experts say no.

"There is almost no possibility that public housing is heading for a hard landing this year," says R'ST research director Ong Kah Seng.

A hard landing would mean a fall of something like 15 to 20 per cent, say analysts.

Since the late 2000s, flat prices have soared. From end-2006 till end-2010, the resale-price index - tracking prices of HDB resale flats - rose 66 per cent. This was seen as a source of voter unhappiness in the 2011 General Election.

The Government has tried to bring the market gently back down to earth.

HDB resale-flat prices have fallen. The cash premiums which buyers pay, or cash over valuation (COV), have also fallen. Median COV fell from a high of $35,000 last January to $8,000 in November.

This is on the back of more "negative COV" deals, in which flats go for less than their valuation. The Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) reported 97 such deals in November, compared to just three or so a month in the first half of last year.

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