Seven units smash $900,000 price tag

Published on Sep 07, 2012

Flats that have hit $900,000 and beyond

SEVEN HDB resale flats have been sold for at least $900,000 - five in this year alone, property agency data show.

And according to the Singapore Real Estate Exchange, which collates information from the Housing Board and major property firms, a $1 million deal for an executive maisonette in Queenstown is in the works.

Mr Tan Kok Keong, head of OrangeTee's research and consultancy, said such a price tag was not impossible, given the buoyancy of both the public and private property markets.

"Both sides of the property market move in parallel with each other," he said. Of the sought-after HDB flats, he noted: "These flats in particular are well situated and of a decent size."

All seven transactions were in mature towns where there are well-developed transport links and amenities.

Three were in Bishan, two in Queenstown, and one each in Kallang and Toa Payoh. They range from 1,180 sq ft to 1,850 sq ft.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said these flats are likely to be on higher floors, well maintained and nicely done up, saving the new owner a tidy sum in renovations.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said that the upward prices of mass market condominiums are also driving up the prices of premium public flats.

A typical unit at the 99-year leasehold Watertown condominium in Punggol, for instance, can fetch about $1,300 psf. In contrast, the latest record-breaking deal for the 1,800 sq ft executive maisonette in Bishan cost about $550 psf.

"The cost, per square foot, is justified," Mr Ismail said. He added: "You don't see such high prices for other mass market HDB flats simply because the supply of these coveted flats is limited."

But Mr Tan emphasised that this rising trend does not reflect the whole public market situation. "Ultimately, the number of such transactions is low compared to the total number of resale deals per year," he said.

Some 24,600 HDB flats changed hands last year, and about 13,000 in the first half of this year.

Mr Lim said buyers of premium flats are typically private-property downgraders who have cashed out and want to live in a flat of comparable size. They can also afford high cash over valuation (COV).

There were two recently reported transactions where such downgraders paid high COVs - $168,000 for an executive maisonette in Tampines and $135,000 for a five-room flat in Holland Drive.