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SINGAPORE — In a sign of tentative recovery in the property market, the number of Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale transactions for the whole of last year increased by 11.5 per cent, compared to 2014.

OrangeTee senior manager of research and consultancy Wong Xian Yang said there might be “seller pressure” for resale flat owners who have purchased executive condominiums (ECs). Upcoming executive condo include The Visionaire EC and Parc Life EC while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Waterwoods EC, Signature At Yishun, Skypark EC and Brownstone EC.

This is because several ECs have reached their completion date along with existing regulations that EC owners cannot hold on to another public flat, he added.

Analysts interviewed expect the resale market to remain busy but they noted the potential headwinds that could hit the property market.

The number of resale transactions for HDB flats last year stood at 19,306 units, according to data for the fourth quarter released by the HDB today (Jan 22).

Quarter on quarter, the number of transactions rose by 2 per cent, from 4,893 cases in the third quarter of 2015 to 4,992 cases in the last quarter.

In terms of resale flats prices, the Resale Price Index (RPI) rose marginally by 0.1 per cent, from 134.6 in the third quarter to 134.8 in the last quarter.

The RPI for last year culminated to a negative 1.6 per cent — 0.1 per cent shy of 2014’s index.

The final RPI numbers were slightly behind flash estimates released earlier this month, where the quarter-on-quarter RPI was estimated to rise by 0.2 per cent. Last year’s RPI was also estimated to be at a decline of 1.5 per cent.

Analysts told TODAY that the stabilising prices in the resale market fueled transaction activity, and they expected transaction volume to continue to increase for the rest of the year.

Mr Wong noted that resale flat transactions are likely to increase over the year as prices moderate and the number of Build-To-Order flats being built is no longer as high as before.

However, this will also depend on the state of the economy, where any signs of downturns would hold off buyers and sellers.

Still, Mr Wong pointed to the policy introduced in 2013 reaching maturity this year, where permanent residents have to wait for three years before they can buy a resale flat - and this could add to the demand for resale flats.

Chief executive of Propnex Reality Ismail Gafoor said the current pricing situation is also “good news” for sellers as prices are already falling at smaller margins compared to previous years.

Citing factors such as more generous government grants and zero cash-over-value, he added: “The momentum of resale flats transactions will continue to increase and this year, the numbers will exceed 20,000.”

Separately, the HDB noted that the number of successful subletting applications increased by 6 per cent to 10,618 cases over the last quarter. As of the end of last year, a total of 50,264 flats were sublet, an increase of 0.9 per cent as compared to the third quarter.

The next BTO exercise will be held next month where 4,150 flats in Bidadari, Bukit Batok and Sengkang will be offered. About 18,000 BTO flats will be released this year.