Apr 5, 2010

Bishan maisonette fetches record $900,000

A RARE penthouse maisonette in Bishan Street 24 has become the most expensive HDB flat ever to be sold in Singapore.

Its owner has accepted an offer for $900,000 for the 1,860 sq ft flat - $170,000 above its valuation.

The buyers are an Indian Singaporean couple, according to a report in Lianhe Wanbao yesterday evening.

It said the flat, which is on the 24th floor, was bought by the current owner 10 years ago for $750,000 and has been renovated since then.

The valuation for the 18-year-old executive maisonette, which comes with a roof terrace, was about $730,000. But the owner, a Singaporean, had put it up for sale with an asking price of $950,000.

This transaction just pips the last highest price on record for an HDB flat. In 2008, a 1,614 sq ft executive flat in Queenstown's Mei Ling Street changed hands for $890,000.

Since 2008, HDB resale prices as a whole have risen about 23 per cent to hit one new high after another. Last week, the HDB said resale flat prices rose 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

The latest record deal in Bishan comes barely a week after a Taiwanese couple paid a record price per sq ft (psf) for a four-room HDB flat in Bain Street at Bras Basah. The 883 sq ft flat, on the 25th floor, cost them $650,000, or $736 psf.

This was $70,000 above valuation for the 30-year-old flat.

Another flat in Strathmore Avenue in Queenstown was nearly sold for $950,000 recently. But the buyer could not get a bank loan to buy the unit - a 24th-storey penthouse like the one in Bishan - which is valued at $875,000.

Even though HDB flat prices appear to be inching towards $1 million, property players said they are unlikely to cross that mark.

Mr Eric Cheng, chief executive of real estate agency ECG Property, said that in order for an HDB flat to hit $1 million, buyers would have to pay $300,000 in cash given the current valuations.

'I doubt we will see people willing to pay that price over the next two years,' he said.

He added that the sale of the Bishan maisonette is not representative of HDB transactions as such large units are very rare. According to HDB data, only 149 flats across the whole of Singapore are bigger than 1,851 sq ft.

'It's not a normal transaction because the buyer could afford a private home with that price but chose to buy this flat for some personal reason instead,' said Mr Cheng.