Fewer HDB upgraders buying private homes suggests more are priced out

SINGAPORE – Fewer Housing Board flat upgraders made the leap into private housing for a second straight year as resale flat price growth and the volume of HDB resale transactions tapered, while private home prices and mortgage rates remain high.

This could have implications for the overall market, in particular the suburban market – which is popular with HDB upgraders – as more than 4,400 new condos are expected to be launched in the suburbs in 2024, according to OrangeTee & Tie.

This would account for around 50 per cent of the up to 8,800 new units expected to be launched in the year, the real estate agency estimated.

With Singapore’s private residential prices growing at a slower pace and up to 40 new launches coming onstream in 2024, buyers may stay on the sidelines as they evaluate the options and wait for prices to moderate further.

Already, signs of price resistance have set in as new private home sales, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), sank to a 15-year low of 6,421 units in 2023, even as the number of newly launched units that year jumped to 7,551 units from 4,528 units in 2022.

And while demand from local owner-occupiers for suburban non-landed homes and new launches have fuelled a price rally in this submarket – like J’den in Jurong East which set a benchmark record at $2,451 per sq foot (psf) – observers question how long this will last.

Tellingly, the number of HDB upgraders acquiring new and resale private homes has dropped in recent years.

A total of 4,714 new and resale non-landed private homes were bought by those with HDB addresses in 2023, down 25.7 per cent from 6,344 in 2022.

Transactions were down 36.3 per cent in 2022 from 9,960 in 2021, said PropNex, citing the

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