Private home owners paid highest COV in Q4: Khaw

Business Times: Thu, Jan 19

PRIVATE property owners paid the highest median cash over valuation (COV) amount for resale HDB flats in the last quarter of 2011, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.

Writing in his blog under the heading ‘Who Bids High?’, Mr Khaw revealed that private property owners paid the highest median COV of $45,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Second-timers paid $34,000, first-timers paid $33,000, permanent residents $32,000, and singles paid the lowest median COV of $31,000, according to Mr Khaw’s data.

The issue of high COVs – which is the cash premiums paid to the seller above a flat’s valuation – was raised in Parliament on Jan 16. Mr Khaw said then that former private property owners make up the buyer segment that is pushing up the COV, not permanent residents.

He released more data to support his point yesterday.

‘We monitor HDB resale prices and publish them for information of potential buyers and sellers. Transparency helps make the market run better,’ Mr Khaw wrote in his blog.

In response, property analysts said that data on the number and types of flats purchased by the respective groups would give a better understanding of the causes of high COVs.

For example, private property owners could be buying larger flats (such as four-room and five-room flats) and therefore the COV paid is higher in absolute terms, noted SLP International research head Nicholas Mak.

On the other hand, singles, who usually buy smaller HDB flats, are likely to pay a smaller COV for the smaller units.

Mr Mak added that HDB resale prices have been rising since 2002, while the information provided was only for Q4 2011. ‘This snapshot of information is hardly enough to explain which group of buyers is contributing to the rise in COV,’ he said.

ERA Realty Network’s key executive officer Eugene Lim similarly noted that the data released by Mr Khaw is general and not flat-type specific. But it does show that private property owners are the ones paying higher COVs, he said.

‘As private property prices are at an all-time high now, those that have cashed out would have easily made significant profits. So they have the capacity to pay higher COVs, especially for the larger flats that they usually buy (five-room or executive). The other group consists of those that have made profits from en-bloc sales,’ Mr Lim said.

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

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