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. 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. Click towns on right side to highlight lines.

Note: 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.

HDB resale flat prices 1990-20209

The 0.5% increase in 4th quarter of 2019 is against logic and contradict my prediction, does fall ended and another price bubble is coming in 2020? At same time, Coronavirus pandemic that turned much worse than 2003 SARS may cause a global recession worse than in 1997, 2003 or 2009, lowering housing prices in most cities in the world, with many people trying to isolate on countryside, I expected Singapore private property market to be affected too as it depends by immigration rate, and at smaller extent may affect public housing market too, but surprisingly HDB prices rose in Q2 and Q3 2020. Everything is unforeseeable now!

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 (1984-2020)
BTO prices database (2001-2020)
Resale flat prices database (1990-2020)

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!

Survey

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
Other
Please Specify:

Poll Maker


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

69 thoughts on “HDB price trends

  1. I am planning to sell my 5 room flat in Sengkang and planning to a flat in Hougang . Pls advise if now is a good time to upgrade to EA or downgrade to 4 room.

    1. Let’s wait a week to see price index for 4th quarter, but my opinion is that prices will continue to fall slowly. Do you agree that raising income ceiling for buying new flats have negative effect on resale prices?

  2. Thank u for your intensive research. I am a singaporean citizen in a serious relationship with an Indian citizen on s pass here and I largely rely on ur findings to pin hopes on our very limited options for a shelter and home over our heads

    1. Teo can’t give any answer due to his happy marriage to a Romanian boy. He also a total gay give a great blow job job but by appointment only

  3. Typo error – need to change “2009” to “2019” at the end of this paragraph:

    Most of BTOs launched in the 3 years 2009, 2010, 2011 will be completed in only 2 years 2013-2014… ~ 30000 flats to be completed in 2014 alone + 5 years MOP = this may lead to a market crash in 2019. I am not saying that prices will not start to fall earlier, but 2009 may have the biggest price fall (if other variables would not exist)

  4. looking at public housing we also must look at immigration policy, demographic shift, and anticipated future economic performance ( a vote of confidence of people buying hdb and private property). I must first declare I am not a property investor or agent, rather a citizen observing what is happening to the hdb landscape.

    Singapore is the second fastest aging nation in the world after Japan, and this has an huge impact on HDB future price and policy. I wonder how the resale market can be supported at current price as the older HDB lease reduces as years pass by, and with more old flats coming into the market. We must not forget many elderly folks are staying alone after their spouse passed on, whoever left alone will ultimately be moved to Nursing Home or RIP whichever is earlier. In my view, there will be huge number of old flats flooding the market in another 3 to 5 years times, and they will get more. Not sure if there will be more going for renting out the whole house. The reason I said these is I am seeing elderlies not being cared for at home, alone and they really ended up in Nursing Home. Our aging problems is tied to providence of healthcare facilities and HDB. Property can move up provided the future of the economy is good and the nation is able to continue to attract foreign executives or workers (not those living in dormantry). To lookl at housing issue, we need to be able to pull the number of HDB owned by only old couples or only one lone elderly; and the numbers of young people in their marriagble age applying or buying resale flats.

    Even if the resale market does crash in 2019 or so, not all flats are equal when it comes to rebound in price, cause there are some BTO is of good location and design – like recent launch in Bidadari, Geylang, Toa Payoh etc.. Hence, even there is a rebound after the crash (if there will be one), price of those better location should be able to maintain the BTO price. May be in very near future, HDB is no longer an asset but a necessity shelter with no appreciation in price (if it can maintain its price is considered lucky). I believe we will come to that stage.

    Every country is building large number of properties in the cities and suburban areas, selling to whoever dreaming to leverage on property investment. Looked around, properties in many cities have their price boom in similar period as Singapore has it. Now, they too have many empty properties left behind waiting to sell to any investor.

    HDB flats become so hot after 2006 partly due to the influx of foreign workers here. If our economy slowed down, or maintained, with our increasing number of elderly, would we continue to import more foreign workers? The number foreign workers will indeed impact demand for HDB purchase for rental purpose (almost all thought of using their flat after MOP to rent out ).

    1. Why did you left comment on HDB Flat Size page since it is clearly about prices? I moved your comment to HDB Price Trends page.
      Price doubled between 2007 and 2012 due to undersupply, delay in supply after the period with low demand due to 1997 Asian Crisis ans 2003 SARS, don’t think that foreign workers have immediate impact on HDB prices because they are not eligible for purchasing HDB.

    2. This year looks grey. From the industries prospective, more companies would like to go for cost cutting before making any decisions of moving away from Singapore.
      What the future will look like, when automation systems come in, the relaying for foreigner workers will not be as much as before 2008. Again, any companies fails to go for automation will eventually force move out or closed down their operation in Singapore.
      In short, manufacturing sectors cannot be throw away. Right now, we are having competition with China who are able to provide low cost production in term of low or high tech which Singapore cannot compete. At the same time, our neighboring countries are growing as well in term of skilled sets and wage.
      Wages will remains pretty much the same in Singapore over the next couple of years because there are too many merged or acquiration between big and small companies. This is bring the wages down since most workers will fine it hard to get a pay hike increment as they are not able to hop around within the industry that they specialize.

  5. I am living in 3010 and I came back to 2018…in 3010 Thomas Skruner created a time machine that actually works believe it or not. There are no more HDBs in Singapore since 2082.

  6. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

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