Owners selling up in the public housing sector to buy in the private market gave a much-needed boost as 10,104 units were sold in 2019 - 14.9 per cent more than the 8,795 transacted in 2018 with 6 of the top 10 selling projects in 2019 being in the outside central region (OCR), with the remainder in the rest of central region (RCR). Usually, demand for OCR region mostly come from HDB upgraders, especially with the HDB resale market pricing bottoming out in 2019, HDB owners will likely sell their HDBs to buy private properties / condos in 2020 as an asset appreciation plan.
Developers sold 2,635 units in the fourth quarter of 2019, which is a 43.5 per cent surge from the 1,836 homes moved in the same quarter in 2018, as shown in Urban Redevelopment Authority's data published on 15 Jan 2020.
Huttons Asia's Kiwi Lim estimated around 30 new private apt / condo launches have been lined up for the first half of 2020, with about half in the core central region (prime districts) and the rest evenly spread between the rest of the central region or city fringes and the outside of central region. Top-selling projects last month included Parc Botannia, with 49 units sold at a median price of $1,345 per square foot (psf); Parc Esta, with 45 units sold at $1,666 psf; and Parc Clematis, with 40 sold at $1,638 psf. Demand for new homes is expected to stay strong with prices rising by 2 to 4 per cent in 2020.
Flash data from real estate portal SRX Property on 15 Jan 2020 showed that overall condominium and private apartment rents rose 3.7 per cent in December 2019 from a year ago, although rents last month decreased 0.9 per cent from November. Figures in December 2019 are 16.6 per cent below their peak in January 2013. Year on year, non-landed private home rents were up in all areas last month: the prime or core central region rose by 3.9 per cent, the city fringe of rest of central region by 4 per cent, and in the suburbs or outside central region by 3.1 per cent.
For non-landed private home rental transactions, there were 58,236 homes leased for the whole of 2019, 2.3 per cent more than a year ago. In December alone, 1.2 per cent more private non-landed units were rented than the year before.
Over in the public housing market, HDB rents in December last year increased 1.3 per cent from a year ago. December's rents also inched up by 0.1 per cent from November. However, compared to the peak in August 2013, December's HDB rents are still down by 14.3 per cent. SRX data showed that while three-room flat rents fell 0.3 per cent in December compared with the year before, rents in other flat types rose: four-room flat rents rose by 2.1 per cent, rents for five-room units rose 1.3 per cent, and that for executive condominium flats rose 1.4 per cent. These price changes come on the back of more flats rented, as the number of HDB flats leased for the whole of last year hit 23,958, 1.9 per cent higher than 2018. Still, last month's overall HDB rental volumes fell 5.3 per cent compared with December 2018.