HDB may stop releasing all COV data

HDB may stop releasing all COV data

The Housing Board may be relooking its policy of releasing official cash-over-valuation (COV) figures of resale HDB flats, according to top executives of some property companies.

They say the board has signalled through its actions and in private conversations its intention to stop publishing these figures altogether, a move that would put the final nail in the coffin of a measure that is criticised for pushing up prices in the resale market.

With COVs stable, realtors like Mr Eugene Lim believe it is 'the best time' to hold back this last measure.

Mr Lim, who is key executive officer at ERA Realty, explained that in a bull market with COVs soaring, not having an official figure to refer to will intensify the escalation of cash premiums, as figures will be tossed around willy-nilly by agents.

COVs have now dropped one-third from their 2011 peak to average around $25,000 to $30,000, said realtors.

The fall is due largely to an aggressive set of measures to cool the property market, and rules being tweaked to let more people buy new flats from HDB.

In fact, calls have grown from realtors over the past few months for the HDB to get rid of its COV figures.

These figures put agents under pressure in a softening market, because sellers tend to take them as a base for the cash premium they desire regardless of the individual peculiarities of their property.

Buyers and sellers will still seek the information from their agents, as this would leave property agency’s data as the only source of COV information.

Source: The Straits Times – 27 April 2012