HDB price trends

HDB Resale Price Index DOUBLED from 2007 to 2013, dropped slightly to 2015 then stabilized. However, due to high supply of flats completed in 2014-2017 that enter on resale market since 2019, prices are likely to drop more in the coming years.

HDB resale flat prices 1990-20209

I am surprised by the 0.5% increase in 4th quarter of 2019 against logic that contradict my prediction, does fall ended and another price bubble is coming in 2020? At same time, Coronavirus death toll exceeded 1000 on 10 February 2019, killing for first time 100+ people in one day. Depending if this continue to spread exponentially and more cities in China enter in quarantine, country economy may collapse and cause a chain reaction leading whole world to another recession like in 1997 or 2009.

Actually prices are rising in some towns while dropping in other towns. The below charts generated from Excel analysis shows price evolution for each town. HDB do not provide median price if less than 20 flats were transacted per quarter, thus there are gaps in lines. Especially in case of Executive flats, HDB do not display median prices for Bishan and Queenstown (towns famous for $1 million HDB flats) because they do not have at least 20 transacted flats except in Q2-Q3 2008.

Download Excel price analysis

In 2013 I sourced data from HDB Resale Statistics and compiled an Excel file showing HDB price trends since 2007, and based on it I created the below charts which I am updating every quarter. Due to requests from 3 people, in 2020 I compiled similar Excel file sourcing data from HDB rental statistics. See below video what do you get after payment.

Price trends in 1990s and 2000s

During 1990s, the location was not so important. Like today, Bishan and Bukit Timah had the most expensive resale flats, but a thing less known by the young generation, is that Choa Chu Kang and Pasir Ris were also among expensive estates. Mature towns like Queenstown, Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio were cheaper.

Larger flats types had higher price per square meter or feet than small flats, in 1990-1992 average resale price of Executive flats being double than average resale price of 4-room flats, at an area 40% larger.

HDB stopped deciding the prices of new apartments based on construction costs, instead they decided based on market prices. Prices of resale flats and new flats entered in a vicious circle, rising 50% in just 6 months of 1993 and tripled to 1996. The gap between small and large flat types in terms of price per square feet has decreased.

The 1997 Asian Crisis came when 80.000 flats were under construction, demand for new flats felt sharply. leaving HDB with about 40,000 unsold completed flats in the year 2000, mostly large flat types. 2003 SARS outbreak affected economy too. Queue selling system (Registration for Flat) was suspended in 2002, Build-To-Order was introduced to prevent oversupply, and Walk-In-Selection was used between 2002 and 2007 to clear the stock of unsold flats.

The old estates built in 1960s and 1970s suffered from dilapidated buildings, aging population and businesses moving out, so HDB launched various upgrading programmes and Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme to bring them in the line with new estates. Resale flat prices in old estates (where most 3-room are located) started rising in 2002, while in new estates they continued to fall until 2006, Executive flats having biggest fall. Price per square foot between small and large flat types equalized in 2005.

Walk-In Selection ended in 2007 and was replaced by Sale of Balance Flats that is only twice per year and in some towns more than 10 people battle per each flat. BTO became main mode of flat supply. People who cannot wait 3-4 years construction time for BTO and fail at SBF, need to go in resale market. Resale prices started rising.

Prices grew faster in pre-1980 estates fueled by upgrading programmes and agents lying people that all old blocks will get SERS, making prices in Marine Parade, Queenstown, and Toa Payoh to rival those in with Bishan and Bukit Timah. Pasir Ris had lowest price growth.

Singapore economy recovered in late 2000s but HDB failed to anticipate, it ramped up the BTO supply too late and too slow, they offered 5500 BTO flats in 2007, 7800 in 2008, 9000 in 2009 (global recession), 12000? 16000 in 2010, 22000 25000 in 2011, 25000 27000 in 2012, plus DBSS flats and Executive Condos. (strikethrough numbers are initial numbers announced at beginning of year).

Rising supply of BTO became visible in 2012, a small reduction in resale prices growing rate.
HDB lowered minimum application rate for BTO to be built from 70% to 50% in 2011, but since mid-2000s to 2013 no BTO had application rate under 100% (except elderly Studio BTO flats).

Analysts predicted that the prices in Singapore will start dropping in 2012 (example), as they predicted in 2011, 2010 too. In my forecast, resale flat prices will NOT fall even in 2012, but will continue to grow for as many years as HDB refuse to build ahead of demand, forcing us to wait 4 years via BTO!

HDB introduced multiple measures to cool down the market, but all failed, for example Minimum Occupation Period lengthen to 5 years for resale flats in 2011 (does anyone know when 5-year MOP was introduced for new flats?) just made less flats to enter resale market and the number of people not eligible for buying directly from HDB (for example PR and singles) is growing.

Most of BTOs launched in the 3 years 2009, 2010, 2011 been completed in only 2 years 2013-2014… 25000 flats completed in 2014 alone + 5 years MOP = possible market crash in 2019. I am not saying that prices will not start to fall earlier, but 2019 may have the biggest price fall (if other variables would not exist).

Note: The above text was written by my personal research at end of 2011. Later I found a similar research on h88.com.sg: Colin Tan: HDB resale flat prices will stay up, dating from Feb 2012, that confirm my hypothesis They say that prices will drop no sooner than 2017! Oh dear…

Prices dropping since 2013

One of the cooling measures, 3 year waiting period for permanent residents to buy resale flats, introduced in August 2013, created fear that the housing market may crash. Resale flat prices dropped in 3rd quarter 2013, for the first time in 5 years. Such minor drop in prices may cause panic, many owners rush to sell their flats before prices fall more, leading to a chain reaction in price drop, OR if the panic may be just temporarily and prices will rise back next year. However, there are no signs to recover. Every quarter of 2014 added 1-2% drop in prices. No significant drop but still enough to make analysts ANGRY that HDB cooling measures were too powerful and requested to be lifted.

Note that HDB can also invent anti-cooling measures in case prices drop with more than 10% in one year, and these anti-cooling measures can fail as most of the cooling measures failed. HDB wants to stabilize prices, a too sudden drop can be disastrous for entire Singapore economy.

Stupidity: instead of providing an adequate supply of flats, they kept supply low during 2000s despite of population increase, and while demand was rising too few flats entered in resale market, then during 2010s HDB artificially slowed down demand for resale flats with cooling measures, and when prices started to drop, instead of keeping supply high and lift the cooling measures, they announced to decrease supply of new BTO flats 24300 units in 2014 to 16900 units in 2015. A stupid decision! BTO launches do not affect resale prices directly so we expect to see prices dropping and further decrease of BTO supply in the next years, thus the 2008-2013 price bubble risk to happen again during 2020s!

Personalty I hope that HDB will let the price index to drop slowly to 150 (2009 level), THEN lift the cooling measures, but keep the supply of at least 25000 BTO flats per year.

New BTO flat prices won’t fall according resale price index, they were traditionally priced 20% cheaper than nearby resale flat prices, but since 2011 they were “de-linked” and became 30-40% cheaper (even if we exclude grants for first timers) as the HDB anticipated market fall. Even if the prices fall 10% for 3 consecutive years, BTO flat owners will still have profit from selling their flats. This does not apply for DBSS flats which were overpriced at their launch in 2011-2012. Raised income ceiling from $10k to $12k in 2015 may allow HDB to push up BTO prices. Income ceiling was raised again to $14,000 on 10 September 2019 (source).

See also:
HDB new flat prices database (1984-2018)
BTO prices database (2001-2018)
Resale flat prices database (1990-2018)

https://kendata12345.wordpress.com/category/4-hdb-bto-flats-price-and-cost-analysis/ – Another website did a detailed analysis of cost of building a BTO flat compared with selling price. He copied my Excel file of BTO prices without my approval.

What you should know

– Upgrading programmes and upcoming MRT lines also drive up the nationwide resale price index.
– The small size of today flats may encourage people to go in resale market for flats built before 1998 (NOT SURE if this push up the resale prices, record of psf is now hold by resale flats built in 2000s).
– Prices fall faster in young towns than mature towns, Punggol suffered biggest price fall in late 2013, as results of over-speculation during last years, this after it was the cheapest town in mid-2000s.
– In mature towns prices fall faster in the old 10-storey blocks of Queenstown and Toa Payoh that are getting shadowed by the new 40-storey blocks.

Affordability of HDB flats

Yes they are still affordable!
Proof: every launch, the higher priced BTOs (better locations) gets most applicants.
HDB Website shows application rate. See how 3-room remained unsold and how big is the battle for 5-room despite of higher prices. See the TRUTH about shrinking HDB flat sizes!


As you can see in the chart, Singapore HDB flat prices DOUBLED in 2008-2013 due to insufficient supply of new flats.

Would you like prices dropping next 5 years to the early 2000s value? Think about owners who worked hard to pay current flats which will lose half of value! Would you like prices growing so you and everyone else can make profit selling? Think about your kids, how hard they will need to work to buy their first home!

HDB resale flat prices by flat type HDB resale flat prices per sqm by flat type
HDB resale flat prices per square meter by lease year HDB resale flat prices per square meter by storey

If you could decide HDB flat prices to fall or rise, what you would do?

10-20% price rise per year to ensure that every flat owner can make profit when will sell the flat. Forget our children and other young couples
max 5% price rise per year
Maintain prices as constant is possible
max 5% prices fall per year
10-20% price fall per year to quickly make the flats affordable for our children. Forget the current owners which will lose money, but public housing is not meant for investment and profit
Please Specify:

Poll Maker

Poll started February 2016. See also results of previous poll (379 votes between April 2014 and February 2015).


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    • Ling on April 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm
    • Reply

    I totally agreed with you, Teoalida. I don’t see that PR as a significant cause of super high resale price.

    I’ve just completed my resale purchase recently.

    While searching then, my heart sank whatever the news announced a flat had sold with how much COV. The announcement would make owners insisting on their extremely high asking COV.

    I can understand that buyer wants to buy low and seller wants to sell high. But when high is so high, only super cash rich people will be able to buy without much hesitation. Sadly I’m not one of them… which was why I took almost a year to found one.

  1. A crazy guy is trying to convince me that HDB will die, that after 2015 construction of new flats will slow down and stop some day, HDB resale prices will rise, etc. Read entire chat: https://www.teoalida.com/chat/2013-10-04/

    • Will on May 6, 2014 at 12:31 am
    • Reply

    Think about it: if hdb cost you 400k today, while your dream home costs a million. So you sell one and buy the other, you out of pocket another 600k.

    If same hdb drop to 200k, and the private home dip in line to 500k, you’d effectively pay 300k for upgrading. How is that a bad thing? If you bought high, I’m sorry but there are no high return, zero risk investments and I hope you didn’t spend beyond means.

    Ultimately, those who get burned are those who buy investment properties, but would you cry if I told you I lost money stocks our casino?

    • Lanky on May 28, 2014 at 9:22 am
    • Reply

    Hi, need some advise here.

    I am a single 37 this year and planning to buy a 1969 (left 54 years lease) Havelock Road, 3-room, high floor corner HDB unit, lift upgraded.
    Beside the block is a group of brand new 40-storey SERs HDB blocks. Tiong bahru MRT is nearby and amenities are aplenty. Planning to buy at around mid $400K (fair price based on recent transaction)

    Will the price of this unit drop drastically, since the maximum loan tenure will be reduced each passing year for anyone who wants to take a loan of maximum 25 years? (Banks only allow loan tenure to stretch to until lease is left with 30 years) Meaning, say 5 years down the road, an interested buyer’s loan tenure is only up to a maximum of 19 years?

    I am concerned starting from this year, each passing year will reduce loan tenure will reduce and hence make it difficult for buyers to purchase this flat with loan and ultimately reducing the value of this flat.

    thanks in advance!

    1. Can someone else advise this person?
      Personally I have no knowledge about banking, but if this make people paranoid to buy flats with just half of lease passed, then what is the purpose of 99-year leases? I think that banking rules should be changed and allow loans regardless of lease.
      PS: there are people who buy flats without taking loans, having money from selling other flat.

      • Anonymous on February 13, 2015 at 10:46 am
      • Reply

      Pls factor in limitation of CPF usage for such older properties.

    • Jason on August 20, 2014 at 2:56 am
    • Reply

    Can you give your review on TDSR and MSR?

  2. I would think it is very certain that property investment downtrend of 2014 will continue in 2015 – 2017. Why? Supply exceeds demand and coupled with TDSR restriction

    1. Nice SPAM bro… leaving 5 comments on various pages for purpose of linking your blog! But sadly… you won’t benefit, links in comments are NOFOLLOW and I think that just ONE at 1 million visitors are clicking the links in comments!

    • fernadiz on January 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm
    • Reply

    with property cooling measures in singapore, the property prices are definitely coming down and need to maintain at the lower level due to the over investment scene in singapore by ultra rich foreigners and investors, prevention of a singapore property bubble formation and burst which will impact so many small time investors who uses rental income to pay for their multiple condos or landed property!!

    i found many other property articles here for singapore and other countries, hope it help u too

    1. How that article should help me?
      That article sucks… there are some mistakes, bad writing and keyword-stuffed it for SEO. “The occupants were allowed to sell the flat to foreigners only after tenure of 5 years.” 10 years! “Choa Chu Kang offered $140,000 to $169,000 for 3 room condo and $225,000 to $278,000 for a 4 room condo” despite that is clearly referring at HDB flat prices.

      The income ceiling is necessary, all countries with public housing programmes have such income limits, without it everyone could buy HDB and prices of new flats would rise like average of buyer salaries, and lowest class of population could no longer afford flats of desired size so will raise the demand for smaller flats and further downsize the flats. The problem is the profit-hungry developers who set prices too high for current income ceiling. Here is a discussion on same issue https://www.teoalida.com/singapore/hudclist/comment-page-1/#comment-13364

    • spkgladys on March 17, 2015 at 2:29 pm
    • Reply

    I am contemplating applying for a 5rm BTO flat in a mature estate, which will be completed in 2019/2020. Do u think that the the price of resale will drop so much that there is a chance that I will be overpaying for my new flat when 2019/2020 comes, considering the price of the flat is gonna be set now?

    1. Nobody can predict price trends so many years ahead, we all see that prices are currently falling, but if HDB keep reducing supply of new flats and lift cooling measures, we risk to have another price bubble in few years. I suggest to buy it in mature estate if you can, and sell at next price peak.

    • Winnie on March 20, 2015 at 12:49 am
    • Reply

    You know what? This is what i have been telling my husband about the crash in 2019. So we have to sell as soon as our hdb hit mop in 2016. I am also predicting that in the next 10 to 15 years (till 2030), HDB resale price will not reach its 2013 level again. never. Unless Gov changed it’s regulation drastically. Good luck to those who bought at the high price, even BTO in 2011 and 2012 were also sold at very high price. Today you might be able to get a BTO flat at price lower than your big brother who bought it few years ago. Gov want us to buy HDB for staying, not for capital gain. Who on earth will increase your home asset value and still get your complaint of house is so expensive that your children might not be able to buy one?

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