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Property Herald: Buyers Vote with their Cheque Books for Bigger Flats

Introduction

Based on the latest public housing statistics released by the HDB, the prices of

resale HDB flats increased by 1.8% quarter-on-quarter (qoq) in the first three months

of 2024, slightly faster than the 1.1% qoq price rise in the fourth quarter of 2023.



Shot of a HDB properties

HDB resale volume

There is also an increase in the HDB resale transaction volume in the first quarter of

this year. The 7,068 resale HDB flats transacted in 1Q 2024 is 8.0% more than the

number of resale flats transacted in last quarter of 2023 and an increase of 1.3%

year-on-year (yoy).


In the first three months of this year, the biggest rise in HDB resale volume in terms

of quarterly rate of growth, was for the bigger flats, especially for Executive flats (E-

flats). The number of resale Executive flats sold in 1Q 2024 increased 15.3% qoq.

This was followed by a 14.2% rise in the number of 5-room flats transacted in the

January to March period this year. Please see Table 1.


Table 1: Number of HDB resale flats transacted

Source: Mogul.sg Research, HDB


The number of 3-room and 4-room flats transacted in 1Q 2024 increased by 5.3% for

both types of flats.


The figures shows that homebuyers prefer the bigger flats and are voting with their

cheque books.


The government has stopped selling and building new 5-room flats in mature estates

through the BTO exercises. Furthermore, in the past few years, new 5-room flats

could not be found in every BTO projects in the non-mature estates. As a result, the

only way that homebuyers can acquire the bigger flats, especially in the mature

estates, is in the resale market.


In addition, the rising price of private housing is pushing some cost-conscious buyers

seeking more spacious homes to the bigger HDB flats as these buyers may view that

such flat offer value for money.


Hallway in a HDB floor

HDB rental market

The rental demand for HDB flats has contracted for two consecutive quarters in 1Q

2024 and the pace of decline is gathering pace. In 4Q 2023, the number of HDB flats

rented out slipped by 0.7% qoq. In the following three months, the HDB resale

transaction volume fell by 4.0% to 9,398 flats. The number of flats rented out in 1Q

2024 is also 2.7% lower year-on-year.


The decrease in rental demand is partly due to the weaker job market leading to

fewer new arrivals of foreign talents. At the same time, the steady completion of new

HDB flats has also reduced the leasing demand from young families waiting for the

keys to their new flats. Fewer BTO flat buyers need to rent temporarily while waiting

for the completion of their new flats.


Outlook

The HDB resale demand and price growth has been largely tamed by the cooling

measures and large supply of BTO flats. Although the HDB resale price index is still

expected to rise by 4% to 6% this year, and between 24,000 and 26,000 HDB resale

flats could exchange hands in 2024, this rate of price growth and resale volume are

unlikely to trigger another round of government intervention because the current

market indicators point to a stabilized public housing resale market.

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