Resale flat prices dip in Sept: SRX

AFTER a slight uptick in August, Housing Board resale flat prices headed marginally south again last month as the market showed further signs of stabilisation.

Overall prices dipped by 0.4 per cent in September, according to latest data from SRX Property.

This was led by the prices of three-, four- and five-room flats, which dropped 0.1 per cent, 0.6 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively. Executive flat prices inched up 1 per cent.

Overall prices have slipped 0.5 per cent in the past six months, and are 11.6 per cent shy of their peak in April 2013, said SRX Property.

The number of flats that changed handslast month rose to 1,504, up 3.9 per cent from August.

SLP International Property Consultants research head Nicholas Mak said buyers who preferred not to make major transactions during the Hungry Ghost month could now be entering the market.

While the latest volume was up 2.4 per cent from a year ago, it was still 58.8 per cent down from its peak of 3,649 units in May 2010.

According to HDB flash estimates earlier this month, prices of resale flats declined at a slower rate of 0.3 per cent in the third quarter, compared with 0.4 per cent in the second quarter.

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said the "flattish prices" for the second half of this year suggest that prices are stabilising.

Pointing to how overall prices slid by 6.2 per cent last year, PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor said this year's marginal movement means that HDB prices are "going through a period of consolidation". He estimated that prices will continue to drop, but by less than 1 per cent monthly for the rest of the year.

ERA Realty's Eugene Lim described the marginal price decline as "largely expected", as existing cooling measures continue to dampen the market. He added that some demand might be drawn away from the resale market next month, when about 12,000 new flats will be launched in HDB's bumper sales exercise.

But Mr Mak said recent housing policy changes in August will encourage resale demand.

For example, Singaporean families which buy a resale flat to live with or near their parents or married child will get a $20,000 Proximity Housing Grant.

The household income ceiling for the Central Provident Fund Housing Grant for resale flats was also raised from $10,000 to $12,000.

Said Mr Mak: "(These) will continue to have gradual positive effects on the HDB resale volume."

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