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Home Central Analysis: Surge in price of resale market in Singapore

Resale prices rose 0.8% in March from the month of February, according to flash data from the real estate portal SRX. Year on year, resale prices were up 9.5 percent from March 2020. Almost reaching their all-time highs, with March prices being just 4.9 percent lower than their peak in April 2013.

This is a 9-month streak of increasing HDB resale prices in Singapore, soon closing in on our all-time highs. Prices have been growing at around 1% per month in the past months, according to SRX data, it might exceed our all-time highs by the 2nd Quarter of 2021 if the current rate of growth were to continue.

The rise in demand for HDB resale flats started in the second half of 2020 after Singapore came out of a two-month-long circuit breaker (CB)period to curb the spread of the Covid-19, with resale prices steadily increasing in recent months.

Increasing prices of resale from 2nd half of 2020

Factors that caused a surge in prices of HDB resale

There are a variety of factors that affected the increase in prices of HDB resale in Singapore.

  1. Risk of BTO delays Due to the pandemic, it is largely due to increasing demand from the buyers who want the certainty of getting a house in the resale market than to avoid the risk of Built-To-Order BTO construction delays. On 7th April, the Government announced that about 85% of BTO projects are around six to nine months behind schedule due to construction delays caused by manpower shortages and supply chain disruptions. This meant that about 43,000 households will get the keys to their flats late.

  2. Rising private property prices/new launches An increase in private property prices has also driven people to buy more resale HDBs.

  3. Improving market sentiment Ever since the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide, the market is anticipating a huge market recovery, prompting people around the world to have a positive outlook on the real estate market. Therefore, driving up demand for the resale HDB market in Singapore.

Prices of resale in mature estates are much higher

In Q1 of 2021, “Multiple offers and price bidding wars for choice flats were common as buyers were willing to shell out extra for premium flats as they believe that supply of these flats is limited especially for newer resale flats in mature estates” says Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research & analytics at OrangeTee & Tie.

The increase in HDB resale prices was largely due to the price increase of properties in mature estates. While the median transacted price of resale flats in mature estates grew 4.2% q-o-q to $500,000, the median price of flats in non-mature estates only increased 2.3% q-o-q to $450,000.

Resale price of non-mature estate, Punggol

Resale price of non-mature estate, Bishan

Four-room flats accounted for 43.3% of sales, with five-room flats at 25.5%, three-room at 22.9%, and executive apartments at 7%.

Ms. Sun expects sales volumes to pick up further with Singapore's economic recovery and construction delays for BTO flats.

“As more people work from home more often due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some might want a more spacious living environment that could easily be converted into workspace if needed. Hence, there was more demand for bigger resale flats,” states ERA. This caused resale 5-room HDB flats to have the highest quarterly price growth in Q1, 2021. In the first quarter of this year, the median transacted price of 5-room flats islandwide increased 4.2% q-o-q to $545,000.

Booming rental real estate market

In the rental real estate market, rental volume across HDBs surged to 26% from 8,472 leasing transactions in Q4, 2020 to 10,676 leasing transactions in Q1, 2021. ERA attributes the increase in leasing demand to young families renting HDB flats while waiting for the completion of their new BTO flats and more foreign talents and international students returning to Singapore for study.

Rental real estates prices

Ms. Sun also states: “Many tenants have renewed their leases, resulting in high occupancy rates and fewer units being put up for lease. Although borders have been gradually reopened, many Malaysians working in Singapore have renewed their leases as they found difficulty traveling across the causeway on a daily basis.”

More available resale flats

Another 26,000 new HDB flats will reach the end of the five-year minimum occupation period this year and become eligible for resale. The transactions of these younger flats would contribute to the rise in HDB resale prices.

Upcoming Build-To-Order flats

For Build-To-Order (BTO) flats, HDB offers about 3,800 such flats in Bukit Merah, Geylang, Tengah, and Woodlands in May. In August, it will launch another 4,900 BTO flats in Hougang, Jurong East, Kallang/Whampoa, Queenstown, and Tampines. HDB also said that it will calibrate the supply if needed, given the economic uncertainty due to Covid-19. However, due to the uncertainty to getting their BTOs on time, it is still highly likely we will continue experiencing an increase in prices on resale flats. Moreover, Ms. Sun also states that the number of unsuccessful BTO flat applicants will remain high especially for popular sites or mature estates. Unsuccessful BTO flat applicants may turn to the HDB resale market for housing, again driving up the prices of resale flats.


With the bounce-back of the economy, market sentiment has largely improved and more people are being prompt to buying descents-sized flats without delay, it is very likely we will still see the rise in prices of resale flats in Singapore in the coming months. This may potentially prompt the government to invoke some policies to regulate the surge in prices of resale flats in Singapore. However, the overall market direction is still likely to be north as we are expecting a larger than expected recovery in the market.

For those who may be uncertain of the prices of resale or any other properties in Singapore, do contact Home Central at 9799 7955 for any questions regarding the property market.

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