The resale prices of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats fell 0.4 per cent on-month in December, hitting a 41-month low, the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) said on Thursday (Jan 8).
According to the SRX data, prices are now at their lowest since August 2011.
The price drop was driven by non-mature estates, which saw resale prices decline 0.9 per cent last month. However, prices in mature estates increased 0.2 per cent compared to the previous month.
Four- and five-room flats saw their resale prices fall by 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively. Prices for three-room flats remained flat, while executive flats saw a price increase of 1.8 per cent.
Overall, prices have declined 6.1 per cent from the same period a year ago and 10 per cent from the peak in April 2013, SRX said.
A total of 1,295 HDB resale flats were sold last month, a 4.1 per cent decrease from the 1,350 transacted units in November.
Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at SLP International, said: “There is a seasonal factor; typically, at the end of the year in November, in December, the transaction volume tends to be lower.
And at the same time, that is also when both buyers and sellers may take a holiday, as a result, prices could also remain flat or soften, but in this case, prices softened because of the various cooling measures that the Government has put in place.
“In the public housing market, one of the property measures that actually reduced the amount or demand is the mortgage servicing ratio (MSR). The MSR actually restricts the amount of income that an individual can use to service the loan, and by restricting the amount of financing available to the home buyer, the Government also in a way restricts their housing budget, and this actually has an impact on softening the prices.”
Meanwhile, compared to a year ago, resale volume was up 28 per cent, SRX said.
Mr Mak noted: “In 2013, the Government imposed more cooling measures, while in 2014, the Government is actually letting those existing cooling measures work its way through the system. So when the cooling measures were introduced in 2013, it actually (shocked) the system and hence there might be a more immediate effect then.
“But the important thing is actually to look at the general trend, over these two years or three years, and we can see that for the whole of 2014, the property prices and volume have actually been contracting.”
For the rest of the year, some property analysts expect prices to slide further – between 4.5 per cent and 8 per cent.
TOX REMAINS NEGATIVE
Overall median Transaction Over X-Value (TOX), which measures whether people are overpaying or underpaying the SRX estimated market value, remained negative in December at -S$4,000.
For HDB towns with more than 10 resale transactions last month, Queenstown reported the highest median TOX of S$3,000, followed by Bukit Merah and Jurong East with S$1,500. The lowest median TOX was in Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Panjang and Choa Chu Kang, at -S$19,500, -S$14,000 and –S$11,000 respectively.