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Text and Photos from The Straits Times | 12 October 2016
The rise in resale prices points to a stabilised market, observers say. Overall, the price increase was due to the rise in prices of four- and five-room flats, despite three-roomers and executive flats going for lower prices.

Resale prices for Housing Development Board (HDB) flats increased marginally by 0.1 percent in September over the previous month, with observers saying that this points to a stabilised market. While three-room and executive flats were sold at lower prices, overall prices were nudged upwards by a 0.8 percent increase in the prices of four-room flats and a 1.2 percent rise for five-room flats.

Last month, 1,666 resale flats were sold, according to latest flash figures from SRX Property released yesterday. This is an 11.3 percent fall from the previous month and 10.8 percent year on year. Mr. Donald Yeo, Head of Agency at real estate firm DWG, said, "What we don't want is for prices to go up too much, or go down too much." The fall in resale flat volume may simply mean that buyers have opted for other options like Build-To-Order flats and private homes, he said.

Last month's resale prices are a 0.4 percent drop over the same month last year. Resale prices have fallen by 11.4 percent since a peak in April 2013. According to the SRX Property data, in September this year, HDB resale prices in mature estates fell by 0.2 percent, while those in non-mature estates increased 0.4 percent. Flash estimates released by the HDB on Monday showed that its resale-flat price index remained the same in the third quarter of this year over the previous quarter.

PropNex Realty Chief Executive Ismail Gafoor said the latest SRX figures are in line with market movement over the year. The year-on-year fall in resale prices has declined from six percent in 2014, to 1.6 percent last year to less than one percent in the first nine months this year, he noted. "It's a good time for people to enter the market. This is a period where sellers can look out for an upgrade opportunity, and buyers may be able to find good buys," he said.

Waiting further may not mean prices will fall further, he added, as they are falling in a way that is 'insignificant'. In fact, he said prices may rise one to two percent next year, 'keeping pace with inflation as demand goes up. Mr. Jason Fu, 28, a graphic designer, who wants to buy a resale flat with his girlfriend, said the figures may prompt him to start looking seriously. "An increase of 0.1 percent isn't significant compared with a potential one to two percent increase next year. This may be the best time to buy."

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