Published January 21, 2010

Fall in HDB upgraders' private home purchases

THE strong recovery in private home prices during the course of last year pushed down HDB upgraders' share of private home purchases to 33.8 per cent in Q4 2009 from a high of 56.2 per cent in Q1 last year, shows the latest caveats analysis by Jones Lang LaSalle.

HDB upgraders accounted for 44.4 per cent of private home purchases in Q2 last year, with the share slipping to 37.9 per cent in Q3.

DTZ executive director Ong Choon Fah says: 'Whenever the market is down, for instance in Q1 last year, you tend to see more buying activity by HDB upgraders. When prices go up, HDB upgraders pull back, as they are very price sensitive. And there's no strong push factor for them to buy a private home since they already have a very good-quality roof over their heads.'

Urban Redevelopment Authority's price index for private homes contracted 18 per cent in the first half of 2009 (from end-2008 level) but recovered 24.2 per cent in the second half.

JLL's SE Asia research head Chua Yang Liang points out that the gap between prices of private condos/apartments and Housing & Development Board flats has widened since 2008. 'As such, we expect HDB upgraders' 'participation' in private home purchases to continue to pull back moderately before picking up again as more mass-market condo projects are launched when the government tenders out more sites during the course of this year.'

'I reckon HDB upgraders' share of private home purchases could hover around 35-40 per cent by end-2010,' he added.