Sold: Condo 6 months, HDB flat 3 months

Private condominium sellers are taking nearly six months to secure a sale, the longest wait in over two years, new data shows.

It also takes far longer now to find a buyer for a Housing Board flat – with a three-month wait on average.

Data compiled by the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) shows that private non-landed units spent a median of 120 days on the market in the first quarter, rising to 137 days in the second quarter and 154 days in the third.

Last month, they spent 172 days – almost six months – on the market before being sold. It is a far cry from 88.5 days, or less than three months, a year back.

The median wait to sell HDB units has grown as well, from more than 60 days per quarter in 2012 and last year to 91 days in the third quarter this year.

These long waits reflect weakened demand, consultants say. Upcoming increases in total residential stock will further pressure owners to sell, said Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong.

In the HDB market, resale demand has suffered owing to factors such as the large number of new Build-To-Order flats, giving first- and second-time buyers a more affordable option, said PropNex CEO Mohd Ismail.

There has also been growing supply in the HDB resale market from people collecting keys to second homes, leading to sliding prices in the past five quarters.

For private homes, the total debt servicing ratio and additional buyer’s stamp duty have discouraged buyers.

New private home sales are not expected to exceed 9,000 this year, far lower than last year’s 17,590 annual sales figure.

The median price spread – the difference between asking and transaction prices – has also risen in both public and private residential markets, SRX found.

In the HDB market, the median price spread rose from 4.7 per cent in the first quarter to 4.9 per cent in the second and 5.9 per cent in the third. It was 3.8 per cent in the third quarter last year and 2.1 per cent a year earlier.

For private non-landed properties, the spread went from 6.3 per cent in the first quarter to 7.3 per cent in the second and 8.2 per cent in the third. It was 4.9 per cent in the third quarter last year and 4.1 per cent a year earlier.

While median days on market is expected to rise, price spreads may keep edging up though they are likely to stabilise soon, said OrangeTee research manager Wong Xian Yang. Valuations could be adjusted and sellers are likely to lower asking prices.

Private condo owners tend to have more holding power, but weak leasing demand for newly completed mass market condos may pressure some owners to sell, said R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

The longer waits and growing price spread do not necessarily mean prices will soften further, said Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.

“Usually, (this could be the case) for more liquid markets like equities… Fortunately, real estate is not a homogeneous product with factors including location and unit size… all having an effect on pricing. Still, with a negative economic indicator such as increased days on market, creditors may feel compelled to quickly act against delinquent loans.”

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