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    Jul 03, 2014

    More residents have trouble selling their flats

    IS THERE an oversupply of flats? This was a question raised by Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah on Monday, after she noticed that many residents in her ward faced problems selling their homes.

    In a Facebook post, Ms Lee said residents have approached her at Meet-the-People Sessions, saying that their Build-To-Order (BTO) flats are ready but they are unable to find buyers for their current flats.

    "Is this (a) sign of oversupply of flats?" she asked.

    The problem surfaced in the past month. At Ms Lee's Meet-the-People Session on Monday, four residents asked for more time to sell their flats, reported Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.

    "They are mainly middle-aged and older, mostly looking to downsize their flat, but had been unable to sell their old flat to fund their new flat," Ms Lee was quoted as saying. "Without money, how can they get the keys to their new flats?"

    She said there were residents who did not even have a single prospective buyer view their flat, adding that all she could do is to help them get an extension of time to sell their flat.

    Gan Thiam Poh, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, also encountered two to three such cases over the past year and, on most occasions, he had been able to get them a six-month extension, Wanbao reported.

    SLP International research head Nicholas Mak did not think there is an oversupply yet, but noted that demand has definitely softened, with flat prices expected to fall further.

    So, sellers have to price their flats ahead of the market, Mr Mak told My Paper.

    "From the buyer's point of view, he would want to buy at next month's price because by the time he gets hold of the flat, its price would have fallen more," he said.

    Lee Lay Keng, DTZ's regional head of research for South-east Asia, said restrictions placed on permanent residents and allowing singles to buy BTO flats also contributed to the drop in resale demand.

    "Buyers will tend to take their time to shop around, so sellers have to be more flexible with their pricing," said Ms Lee.