SINGAPORE— At least two housing units were sold in the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project at The Peak @ Toa Payoh for more than S$1 million, two months after the five-year minimum occupation period.

The five-room units were sold at S$1.12 million and S$1.01 million respectively, and are located on higher floors. At 117 sq m, the price works out to S$890 per sq ft (psf) at the upper end of the range.

Developed by Hoi Hup Realty, the five-block public housing development has a total of 1,203 units.

“It is not surprising to see prices going past the S$1 million mark because DBSS units tend to be priced at a premium to regular Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, and are in high demand,” said Mr Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty.

DBSS flats are developed and sold by private developers, not the HDB, and provide condominium-style homes. The scheme was suspended after 2011, and units can only be sold after their five-year minimum occupation period.

Earlier this year, a penthouse unit in the DBSS project in Natura Loft at Bishan was sold for a record S$1.18 million. Last year, a City View @ Boon Keng DBSS unit went for S$1.1 million in August, while one apartment at the Pinnacle @ Duxton fetched S$1.12 million in September.

Since meeting the minimum occupation period in May, at least 19 units at The Peak have been sold on the resale market including 15 five-room flats at prices ranging from S$825,000 to S$1.12 million.

“For a mature estate like Toa Payoh, it is a good entry into a highly sought after area. For an equivalent-sized unit, private properties in the area would go for anything between S$1.8 to S$2 million,” said Mr Ismail.

Mr Neo Yiren, 39, an accountant who has been staying at The Peak for five years and bought his five-room flat for S$600,000 said he has no intention to sell his property.

“This is not an investment but a home to me. I have no intention to sell as I am too used to living here.

“The price is reflective of the area … Obviously overall the design is pretty okay, and the location is the thing that most people hold on to – as it is across a hawker centre and not too far from the interchange and MRT. It is also next to the highway, easy to commute and is very convenient.”

Mr Theron Lam, 35, finance professional, a resident of The Peak with a five-room unit in the 17th floor said the flat is special. “It has a full-length balcony which you do not get a lot from public housing units. The view is also great and you can oversee the MacRitchie Reservoir for some units.”

He has been getting flyers almost every day from agents trying to rent or sell.

“There are a lot of agents and their advertisements. I see agents bring in prospective buyers almost on a daily basis.”

While he has heard that several of his neighbours are trying to sell their units, Mr Lam has no intention to do so. “Not that I think the price is no good, but if I were to sell, with S$1 million, I would have to sacrifice the location or size to get a unit with the same price.”

Some blocks at the Clementi Town Centre, which are not part of the DBSS development projects, such as 441A and 441B Clementi Avenue 3, have also reached their minimum occupation period.

A total of three units at Block 441A, Clementi Avenue 3 crossed over the million dollar mark in the last 12 months. The first was an 18th floor five-roomer which was transacted for $1.005 million last August. In April this year, two more units were sold for $1.02 million and S$1,040 million, according to PropNex Realty.

Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director, SLP International Property Consultants however noted that the universe of HDB flats that change hands for over S$1 million is relatively small.

“It is unusual to see public housing units going for such high valuations. For S$1 million, you can buy an executive condominium with private carparks, tennis courts, swimming pools and barbeque pits,” said Mr Mak.

“The public flats that sell for over S$1 million are likely to be outstanding – whether in location, views, condition or design. Only 0.1 per cent of all public housing transactions can achieve those levels, or one in a thousand. Sellers should be realistic about pricing before using this as a benchmark.” WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ANGELA TENG