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Dan Ho's Associates, OrangeTee's comments on HDB Q2 2022 Public Housing Data

HDB resale prices continue their ascent in tandem with other asset classes



HDB Resale Price Index

As a rising tide lifts all boats, it is not surprising that HDB resale prices continue their ascent in tandem with other asset classes, which have seen values climbing despite the pandemic. Ample liquidity from massive stimulus programs worldwide has made its way to the real estate sector, including Singapore. Moreover, many investors have parked their money in our real estate properties which are widely regarded as safe-haven investments that retain value or appreciate during market downturns.

According to public housing data from HDB, HDB resale prices rose faster by 2.8 per cent last quarter compared to the 2.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in Q1 2022. Year-to-date prices have risen by 5.3 per cent over the past six months. On a year-on-year basis, prices climbed by 12 per cent.

HDB Resale Volume

Resale transactions fell to 6,819 units last quarter compared to 6,934 units in the first quarter of this year. Sales fell by 1.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter and dipped by 3.5 per cent year-on-year in Q2 2022.

Sales volume is still at a healthy level considering prices have increased for many consecutive quarters. Moreover, the authorities have stepped up the construction of many new flats and shortened the expected completion period of new flats, thus giving buyers more confidence to buy BTO flats. Buyers now have more housing options ranging from new PLH (Prime Location Public Housing) model flats in prime locations to BTO flats spread across the island.

Resale sellers face steeper competition with more BTO flats released. Within seven months, as many as 13,037 BTO units and 3,750 Sale of Balance Flats were released over three BTO launches (November 2021, February 2022 and May 2022). The 8,536 new BTO flats were released in the first six months of this year, which is 22.5 per cent higher than the 6,966 BTO units averagely released in the first half of each year from 2016 to 2021.

Rental

According to the HDB public housing data for the first quarter of 2022, the approved applications to rent out HDB flats dipped by 8.6 per cent from 10,189 cases in Q1 2022 to 9,309 cases in Q2 2022. On a year-on-year basis, volumes declined by 15.2 per cent from 10,979 units in Q2 2021. Rental volumes may have dipped as rents have been climbing. Rental stock may have also declined since many homeowners have sold their flats over the past year, resulting in fewer flats being put up for rental.

Rents may continue to climb on the back of the rising inflation and declining stock. We estimate that overall rents may rise by 7 to 10 per cent in 2022, while volumes may be around 46,000 to 48,000 units.

Outlook

In the second half of 2022, interest rate movement and housing supply may play a more significant role in determining the trajectory of flat prices and housing demand. Higher interest rates will translate to higher borrowing costs, which will moderate demand and price growth. However, since there has been a long run-up in resale prices, a steep price correction may not happen so soon.

Currently, the interest rate hike has not affected the public housing market substantially as the loan quantum of most HDB flats is not high, and most homeowners are not overleveraged. However, the interest rate hike may be more keenly felt when rates edge towards 3 to 3.5 per cent. Should such a situation occur, more first-time borrowers may switch to an HDB loan pegged to 2.6 per cent. Other borrowers may pay down their loans to reduce their monthly instalments.

As HDB continues to launch more BTO flats in the second half of this year, the increased housing supply will continue to draw demand away from the resale market, which may help to regulate the pace of price growth and tame market exuberance.

We anticipate that 25,000 to 28,000 resale flats may be transacted this year. Resale prices may grow by 7 to 9 per cent for the entire year.

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