Million-dollar HDB flats reach record highs in 2023 despite inflationary pressures and policy changes

By Nur Hikmah Md Ali
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
HDB resale flat prices reached a record high when a four-bedder jumbo unit at 50 Moh Guan Terrace in Tiong Bahru changed hands for $1.5 million in May (Photo: Google Maps).
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - In 2023, an estimated 460 HDB resale flats were sold for $1 million or more. The figure is 25% higher than the 369 public housing flats that crossed the million-dollar mark in 2022, according to a Huttons Data Analytics report on Dec 4.
This year, the highest price for a public resale flat was $1.5 million ($792 psf). It was achieved by a four-room jumbo (adjoined) flat at 50 Moh Guan Terrace in Tiong Bahru. The 1,895 sq ft flat on the fourth floor of the block has a remaining lease of 48 years.
The interior of 2023’s top-selling resale flat at 50 Moh Guan Terrace (Photo: Knight Frank).
The second highest transaction in 2023 was the sale of a 1,152 sq ft, five-room flat at Pinnacle@Duxton in August for $1.48 million ($1,285 psf). The third highest was the sale of a 1,216 sq ft five-room flat at City Vue @Henderson in Bukit Merah for $1.46 million.
Only four of the 26 HDB towns have yet to see a million-dollar transaction. They are Choa Chu Kang, Jurong West, Sembawang and Sengkang. The three HDB towns with the most million-dollar transactions in 2023 were Bukit Merah, Toa Payoh and Kallang/Whampoa.
The third highest HDB sale this year was the sale of a 1,216 sq ft five-room flat at City Vue @Henderson in Bukit Merah for $1.46 million (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore).
Lee Sze Teck, senior director of data analytics at Huttons Asia, expects million-dollar flat transactions “to remain sticky” in the coming year. While there is resistance from buyers due to inflationary pressures, there are others who are willing to pay a premium for an ideal HDB flat, he notes.
More million-dollar flats next year?
Lee reckons the number of million-dollar HDB transactions next year could be in the 450 to 500 range. He expects prices to increase by 5% in 2023. “This is half last year’s price gains of 10.4%,” he points out, indicating that policy changes are stabilising the market.
In September 2022, the government introduced property cooling measures in the HDB resale market. However, HDB resale demand has been relatively resilient, says Wong Siew Ying, PropNex head of research and content.
“The 15-month wait-out period for former private homeowners who intend to buy a resale flat in the open market also likely contributed to a moderation in demand for larger flats that tend to appeal to private home downgraders,” she adds.
HDB resale demand in 2023 has been resilient, despite high interest rates and the effects of cooling measures (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore).
The supply of new flats that reached the five-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) this year is about 15,549 units, according to Huttons Asia’s Lee. This number is half the 31,325 that hit MOP in 2022, which implies the supply of newer resale flats in the market has dipped.
Number of flats reaching MOP to dip
In 2024, the supply of flats reaching MOP is expected to decline further to 13,093 units, says Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie. With the prospect of lower demand from price-resistant buyers, Sun foresees sellers facing stiff competition next year.
However, the proportion of flats reaching MOP in mature estates will be higher than in non-mature estates, Sun continues, which may push up the overall HDB resale price index slightly.
According to OrangeTee, the number of flats achieving MOP in mature estates will increase to 5,392 units in 2024 from 4,365 units this year. “By proportion, MOP flats in mature estates will rise from 27.7 % in 2023 to 41.2% in 2024,” says Sun. “Conversely, those in non-mature estates will drop from 72.3% to 58.8% over the same period.”
The mature estates with the highest number of flats reaching MOP next year are Tampines (1,930 units), Toa Payoh (1,286 units), Bedok (660 units), and Geylang (642 units). For non-mature estates, Sembawang (2,669 units), Sengkang (2,081 units), Yishun (824 units) and Punggol (754 units) will have the highest number of flats reaching MOP.
The number of million-dollar HDB transactions next year could be in the 450 to 500 range: Lee Sze Teck, senior director of data analytics at Huttons Asia (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore).
BTO supply cranked up
To balance demand and supply, the government has increased the supply of BTO (Built-to Order) flats by up to 23,000 units this year, with some of these flats having a shorter waiting time, says Huttons’ Lee. As a result, some buyers have been attracted to the BTO market, and the demand for resale flats has been reduced slightly this year.
“The HDB will likely continue to push out as much as 20,000 to 25,000 BTO flats in 2024 to stabilise prices in the resale market,” he adds.
More flats are expected to be completed next year, notes Huttons’ Lee, with the HDB ramping up on clearing the construction backlog, which was delayed due to the pandemic. He expects the backlog to be cleared by early 2025.
The three HDB towns with the most million-dollar transactions in 2023 were Bukit Merah, Toa Payoh and Kallang/Whampoa (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore).
According to Lee, there will be up to 38 new private residential project launches, with an estimated 11,636 units in the pipeline for launch next year. More than 8,500 units are estimated to be in the Outside Central Region (OCR) and the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and will attract many HDB upgraders.
“Most HDB upgraders will sell their HDB flat so that they do not need to pay the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty for a second residential property purchase,” says Lee. “The supply of resale flats for sale may be bumped up.”
New classifications and implications
Next year, there will be a change in the classification of housing estates. Instead of ‘mature’ and ‘non-mature’, from 2H2024, HDB estates will be classified as Central, North, Northeast, West and East regions.
In the Central Region, where most of the current mature estates are located, new BTO flats will be categorised as Plus and Prime and come with restrictions on resale with a 10-year MOP. “The changes are cognisant of the fact that the popularity of an HDB flat is highly dependent on the location, and the new BTO types will be able to capture these nuances,” says Lee.
Lee adds that some buyers have turned their attention to flats in locations where they expect BTO flats to be launched under the Plus and Prime category. He notes that there could also be more interest in newer flats in mature estates with no restrictions on resale. “Buyers view such flats without restrictions as potentially having better capital appreciation in the future and are willing to buy them now. It could, in turn, push up the prices of such flats.”

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