By Wong Siew Ying | POSTED: 09 Jan 2014 21:04 | CNA

SINGAPORE

In a sign that the Singapore property market has continued to soften, about one in five HDB resale flats was sold below valuation in December.

This has weighed down the median valuation for HDB flats, which fell for the first time in the last quarter since the global financial crisis.

This was according to latest figures from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), which compiles data from property agencies in Singapore.

Falling cash premiums and weaker overall resale flat prices have put a drag on the median valuation of public housing flats.

According to SRX, the overall median HDB valuation in the fourth quarter of 2013 came in at S$435,000 — down 0.7 per cent from the previous quarter.

This was the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2009.

The HDB resale market has continued to trend downwards, following tighter loan restrictions, housing policy changes and a larger supply of new flats.

Based on its flash estimates, SRX expects 14,314 units of resale flats to be sold in 2013, sharply down from the annual resale volumes of over 20,000 units in the past years.

SRX expects 908 resale flats to be sold in December, down 9.6 per cent from the previous month. It is also the second-lowest number of transactions in 2013.

Overall HDB resale prices fell 0.5 per cent on-month in December.

Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA, said: “With prices stabilising, we are hopeful that more buyers would come back to the resale market because you do not have to wait the three years for the BTO (Build-To-Order) flats to be completed. So we may expect more buyers coming back to the market, perhaps in the second half of 2014.”

SRX data also showed that the median cash-over-valuation (COV) for HDB resale flats fell to S$5,000 last month, the lowest since June 2009.

Looking ahead, analysts expect the COV to continue its downward trend.

But prices in mature estates are likely to remain more resilient.

Dennis, Tay, associate senior vice president at HSR, said: “Those places that I think you can still see high prices will be Bukit Merah, town area, Marine Parade, those kind of mature towns…

“(In) Punggol, Sengkang, where there are still a lot of BTO flats coming up, buyers will be spoilt for choice.”

Some analysts expect HDB resale prices to continue to decline gradually this year, falling by anything between three and eight per cent, and thereafter, they said prices could likely stabilise in 2015.

– CNA/ms

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