The complete list of million-dollar HDBs and where to find them

The complete list of million-dollar HDBs and where to find them

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Since 2020, there have been 136 million-dollar HDBs being transacted (up till Mar’21).  Although this is still a relatively small portion (0.4%) of the entire market, the numbers have been increasing.  In Q1’2021 alone, there were 53 million-dollar HDBs being transacted, compared to only 14 in Q1’2020 and 17 in Q1’2019.

Download our latest Q1’2021 HDB Report for a full assessment of the HDB resale market.


Source: EdgeProp Shortlist Tool

The majority of these are located in the central districts, with Pinnacle @ Duxton in Tanjong Pagar contributing 36 units, to the million-dollar list in Q1’2021.  The rest are transacted in 10 other towns, namely Queenstown (23), Bishan (21), Bukit Merah (16), Toa Payoh (15), Kallang/Whampoa (8), Clementi (7), Bukit Timah (6), Ang Mo Kio (2), followed by Serangoon and Geyland with one each.

Beyond the convenience of being centrally located, size is the other major contributing factor to the rise in these million-dollar HDBs.  As the work-from-home phenomena is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, the demand for space to serve the hybrid function of working and living will skyrocket.  HDBs are probably the least expensive asset class to serve this purpose.  For example, a 5-room HDB in Tanjong Pagar costs $850 psf on average.  A similar size condo at nearby Icon, a leasehold condo completed in 2002, will cost you an average of $1,650 psf, almost twice the price.  The same scenario can be seen in other towns.

The delays in the completion of projects, public or private, due to the shortage of workers in the construction space, will also nudge property seekers to venture into the secondary markets and hunt for completed HDBs.

The combination of convenience, size, relative affordability and urgency are the key reasons behind the rise of million-dollar HDBs.  And this trend will likely continue in the coming months.  Besides, if you have a $1M budget today, needs at least 1,000 sqft of space to occupy soon in a somewhat central location, what other options are there?

Download our latest Q1’2021 HDB Report for a full assessment of the HDB resale market.

The Complete List of Million-dollar HDBs for Q1'2021

Address Town Unit Property Type Model Area Sqft Transacted Price Unit Price PSF
273B Bishan Street 24 Bishan 28 to 30 5-Room Dbss 1291  $              1,220,000  $                         945
273A Bishan Street 24 Bishan 25 to 27 5-Room Dbss 1291  $              1,210,000  $                         937
2 Toh Yi Drive Bukit Timah 13 to 15 Executive Maisonette 1657  $              1,210,000  $                         730
275A Bishan Street 24 Bishan 34 to 36 5-Room Dbss 1291  $              1,160,000  $                         899
150 Mei Ling Street Queenstown 04 to 06 Executive Maisonette 1582  $              1,138,800  $                         720
1B Cantonment Road Central Area 34 to 36 5-Room Type S2 1162  $              1,138,000  $                         979
1D Cantonment Road Central Area 46 to 48 5-Room Type S2 1130  $              1,128,000  $                         998
3 Toh Yi Drive Bukit Timah 10 to 12 Executive Maisonette 1571  $              1,128,000  $                         718
8 Boon Keng Road Kallang/Whampoa 31 to 33 5-Room Dbss 1259  $              1,125,000  $                         894
139B Lorong 1A Toa Payoh Toa Payoh 37 to 39 5-Room Dbss 1259  $              1,122,000  $                         891
1B Cantonment Road Central Area 46 to 48 4-Room Type S1 1022  $              1,120,000  $                     1,096
1E Cantonment Road Central Area 43 to 45 5-Room Type S2 1130  $              1,120,000  $                         991
126A Kim Tian Road Bukit Merah 22 to 24 5-Room Improved 1216  $              1,100,000  $                         905
440C Clementi Avenue 3 Clementi 34 to 36 5-Room Improved 1205  $              1,095,000  $                         909
138A Lorong 1A Toa Payoh Toa Payoh 34 to 36 5-Room Dbss 1227  $              1,095,000  $                         892
446 Bright Hill Drive Bishan 07 to 09 Executive Maisonette 2615  $              1,092,888  $                         418
440C Clementi Avenue 3 Clementi 31 to 33 5-Room Improved 1205  $              1,080,000  $                         896
7 Boon Keng Road Kallang/Whampoa 19 to 21 5-Room Dbss 1280  $              1,080,000  $                         844
1G Cantonment Road Central Area 37 to 39 5-Room Type S2 1151  $              1,068,888  $                         929
8A Upper Boon Keng Road Kallang/Whampoa 16 to 18 5-Room Premium Apartment 1248  $              1,068,000  $                         856
86 Dawson Road Queenstown 34 to 36 5-Room Premium Apartment 1119  $              1,060,000  $                         947
93 Dawson Road Queenstown 04 to 06 5-Room Premium Apartment 1313  $              1,060,000  $                         807
139B Lorong 1A Toa Payoh Toa Payoh 34 to 36 5-Room Dbss 1259  $              1,055,000  $                         838
1A Cantonment Road Central Area 16 to 18 5-Room Type S2 1162  $              1,050,000  $                         904
22 Ghim Moh Link Queenstown 40 to 42 5-Room Improved 1216  $              1,050,000  $                         863
138C Lorong 1A Toa Payoh Toa Payoh 31 to 33 5-Room Dbss 1227  $              1,050,000  $                         856
139B Lorong 1A Toa Payoh Toa Payoh 19 to 21 5-Room Dbss 1227  $              1,050,000  $                         856
150 Mei Ling Street Queenstown 13 to 15 Executive Maisonette 1571  $              1,050,000  $                         668
6 Toh Yi Drive Bukit Timah 04 to 06 Executive Maisonette 1571  $              1,050,000  $                         668
138C Lorong 1A Toa Payoh Toa Payoh 31 to 33 5-Room Dbss 1227  $              1,048,888  $                         855
139B Lorong 1A Toa Payoh Toa Payoh 31 to 33 5-Room Dbss 1227  $              1,045,000  $                         852
139A Lorong 1A Toa Payoh Toa Payoh 31 to 33 5-Room Dbss 1259  $              1,045,000  $                         830
275A Bishan Street 24 Bishan 13 to 15 5-Room Dbss 1291  $              1,045,000  $                         809
311C Clementi Avenue 4 Clementi 37 to 39 5-Room Dbss 1130  $              1,038,000  $                         919
2 Toh Yi Drive Bukit Timah 10 to 12 Executive Maisonette 1571  $              1,038,000  $                         661
1G Cantonment Road Central Area 19 to 21 5-Room Type S2 1140  $              1,033,000  $                         906
1G Cantonment Road Central Area 46 to 48 4-Room Type S1 1001  $              1,032,000  $                     1,031
50 Commonwealth Drive Queenstown 13 to 15 5-Room Improved 1227  $              1,030,000  $                         839
273B Bishan Street 24 Bishan 10 to 12 5-Room Dbss 1291  $              1,030,000  $                         798
1A Cantonment Road Central Area 37 to 39 4-Room Type S1 1022  $              1,028,000  $                     1,006
134 Bishan Street 12 Bishan 01 to 03 Executive Apartment 1550  $              1,028,000  $                         663
18D Holland Drive Queenstown 19 to 21 5-Room Improved 1259  $              1,020,000  $                         810
3 Toh Yi Drive Bukit Timah 07 to 09 Executive Maisonette 1571  $              1,020,000  $                         649
1C Cantonment Road Central Area 28 to 30 4-Room Type S1 1044  $              1,018,000  $                         975
1G Cantonment Road Central Area 16 to 18 5-Room Type S2 1130  $              1,015,000  $                         898
126 Bukit Merah View Bukit Merah 22 to 24 5-Room Model A 1506  $              1,010,888  $                         671
1C Cantonment Road Central Area 13 to 15 5-Room Type S2 1140  $              1,010,000  $                         886
7 Boon Keng Road Kallang/Whampoa 13 to 15 5-Room Dbss 1280  $              1,008,000  $                         788
1E Cantonment Road Central Area 31 to 33 4-Room Type S1 1011  $              1,000,000  $                         989
1B Cantonment Road Central Area 37 to 39 4-Room Type S1 1022  $              1,000,000  $                         978
126A Kim Tian Road Bukit Merah 10 to 12 5-Room Improved 1216  $              1,000,000  $                         822
232A Serangoon Avenue 2 Serangoon 13 to 15 Executive Apartment 1506  $              1,000,000  $                         664
2 Toh Yi Drive Bukit Timah 04 to 06 Executive Maisonette 1614  $              1,000,000  $                         620

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The rise of resale HDBs

The rise of resale HDBs

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - The red hot HDB market seems to be defying all expectations.  The chart below sums up the plot of the HDB story this year.  After average monthly sales volume plummeted 79% during the circuit-breaker months, the recovery was not only swift, but immense.  Sales volume jumped 573% to more than 2,400 units per month in June and has remained high since.  

Market Trends for Resale HDBs - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

Source: Market Trends


HDB resale prices are also inching up after being in the doldrums for years.  From June’20 to Oct’20, average resale HDB prices jumped 7%, almost reaching the highs of 2012 -- that was when the HDB market was at its hottest before cooling measures were implemented.

Before getting into the reasons behind the rise of resale HDBs, we delved deeper into the different Singapore towns and their respective transactions for further insights.  As usual, we turned to data for guidance.

A lot more deals done in newer North-East towns...

Source: Heatmap


While almost all towns in Singapore saw more deals being done in Q3 vs. Q1 this year, the towns in the North-East region, namely Woodlands, Punggol, Sengkang and Tampines were the busiest (see heatmap).  For example, in the new town of Punggol, transaction volume almost doubled from 306 units in Q1 to 596 units in Q3.  Similarly in Tampines, there were 556 resale transactions in Q3 compared to 382 in Q1, an increase of almost 46%.  The only town that experienced a decline in sales volume was Yishun, a much older estate that gained an unsavoury fame of late due to a spate of crimes and mysteries.  In Q3 this year, there were 510 resale HDB transactions in Yishun compared to 519 transactions in Q1.

Most of the HDBs in these newer towns would have achieved its Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) in the last 2 years.  MOP is the minimum period owners are required to physically occupy the flat before they can sell it in the secondary market.   In Punggol alone, we estimated that some 9,200 HDBs would have achieved its MOP in 2019 and 2020 compared to about 5,100 units in the two years prior.  Newer HDBs are typically easier to sell due to its better renovated conditions and proximity to amenities.

... but price jumps seen primarily in mature towns in central and city-fringes


Source: HDB, EdgeProp


While the newer HDB towns grab all the headlines for the number of transactions, the real money deals occur in the city fringes.  Million-dollar HDB flats, unheard of a mere few years back, are becoming regular news in areas like Tiong Bahru, Queenstown and Tanjong Pagar.  In October alone, there were 13 million-dollar resale HDBs transacted, the highest ever on record.  This equates the total number of million-dollar HDBs in the first quarter of the year.


Source: HDB, EdgeProp Shortlist Tool


Not surprisingly, these towns saw the highest price increases this year.  Prices in the central area, driven by the landmark development Pinnacle @ Duxton grew 17% from Q1 to Q3 this year.  Meanwhile, over in Queenstown, prices grew 13% as newer developments such as Skyville @ Dawson and Skyterrace @ Dawson achieved its MOP.  These HDBs are designed by renowned architects and have facades which resemble private residential condominiums.  Some also incorporate biophilic design such as rooftop gardens into the developments.  Easy access to MRTs and proximity to city centers are other possible reasons which contribute to the growth in selling prices in Queenstown.

The need for space

Most analysts attribute this to the pent-up demand caused by limited activities during the barren circuit-breaker months.  However, this alone cannot fully explain why sales stayed elevated for five consecutive months, and higher than the monthly sales in the previous years.

One key factor driving the rise in demand for HDBs is the need for space.  Being locked down during the circuit breaker months and the continuance of working from home as the new routine have caused many buyers to re-evaluate their housing needs.  Younger couples could also be looking out to get their own space instead of staying with their parents.  HDBs are probably the most inexpensive asset class in Singapore on a per-square-foot basis to meet the need for space at times like these. 

Lastly, upgraders and likewise downgraders (there must be a seller and buyer for each transaction) could be fueling the HDB transactions in the market space.  Selling their HDBs could be an option for those seeking financial security due to the uncertainties in the employment market.  As the current pandemic persists until a vaccine is made widely available, we expect the resale market for HDBs to remain vibrant throughout next year.





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Property developers’ role in car-lite push

Property developers’ role in car-lite push

PLQ park connectors - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

Paya Lebar Quarter’s Walking & Cycling Plan has come into fruition, with cyclists and pedestrians using the wide through-block shared paths regularly (Photo: Samuel Chua/The Edge Singapore)


SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - On any given day, cyclists ride on the wide paths alongside pedestrians at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ). About 100,000 sq ft out of the 1.8 million sq ft total gross floor area at the mixed development is dedicated to these paths, as well as public spaces and lush greenery.

They also link the development to nearby park connector networks (PCNs). When it rains or gets too hot, cyclists and pedestrians can use a sheltered overhead bridge — equipped with lifts long and wide enough to fit bicycles — to access PLQ’s retail mall, three office towers and three private residential blocks. Employees who cycle to work at PLQ’s offices can park at private bicycle lots and use nearby shower facilities, complete with hair dryers and lockers, to freshen up before going to the office.

These cycling-friendly provisions were first detailed in PLQ’s Walk & Cycling Plan (WCP), part of developer Lendlease’s Traffic Impact Assessment report and development applications to LTA and URA in 2016.

PLQ was one of the first mixed-use developments required to submit a WCP, says its general manager, Audrey Balakrishnan. “We worked very closely with the relevant authorities during the design and approval process,” she adds.


end of trip cycling facilities - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

Employees who commute to work on bikes can park at private bicycle lots and use end-of-trip facilities to freshen up (Photo: Samuel Chua/The Edge Singapore)


A WCP must be prepared by a professional consultant, together with the appointed architect, to show how the development will apportion space to walkways, pedestrian and cyclist crossings, as well as end-of-trip facilities, such as bicycle parking lots, shower rooms and lockers.

Since 2016, a WCP has been required of large-scale commercial developments, schools and business parks. It was expanded last year to also include residential properties, medical facilities and hotels of a certain scale, as part of Singapore’s push towards becoming a carlite nation. Roads currently take up 12% of land in Singapore. Since February 2018, the annual allowable car growth in Singapore has been reduced to zero.

To help developers, LTA and URA have also jointly produced a Walking and Cycling Design Guide, outlining specifics such as widths of footpaths, road markings to encourage safe behaviour, and suitable lighting. 

PLQ’s Balakrishnan says that providing car-free areas, which allows for alternative modes of transport, has contributed to the mixed use development’s liveability and connectivity.


bicycle parking - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

Indoor bicycle racks at PLQ mall (Photo: Samuel Chua/The Edge Singapore)


At the same time, the developer is working with cafe operators along the cycling path in PLQ to build a fitness community. There are also activities organised in collaboration with the Health Promotion Board and Virgin Active in PLQ.


Property developers have a huge role to play in Singapore’s car-lite goal, says assistant professor Raymond Ong at National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “An inclusive development that caters for walking, cycling, electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles can be made ‘future-proof’ and adaptable to the eventual car-lite goal,” he adds.

Other developments with WCPs that have come into fruition include Funan mall and Eunoia Junior College, according to an LTA representative. Within Funan, a 200m indoor cycling path links to a shared path along North Bridge Road, allowing cyclists to ride right through the mall. It also has 166 bicycle bays, the highest among CapitaLand developments. 


PLQ park connector paths - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

Pathways at PLQ is linked to cycling paths surrounding the development (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)


One of the key requirements of a WCP is to show how pedestrians and cyclists can safely access surrounding PCNs or cycling paths, be it existing or upcoming networks. LTA has announced in March that Singapore will have 1,320km of cycling paths and park connectors by 2030, which is three times the current network length.

On the existing PCNs, one can cycle from East Coast Park to Gardens by the Bay, and up north to Rower’s Bay and Seletar Aerospace Park on part of the 150km Round Island Route. The whole route will be fully completed by 2035. There is also the 36km Coast-to-Coast Trail that connects Coney Island Park in Punggol to Jurong Lake Gardens. However, these routes are more commonly used for leisure rather than commute.

To encourage cycling as a mode of transport, wider, car-free paths in upcoming neighbourhood towns are in the works. HDB has recently unveiled the design of the future carlite town of Tengah, which showcases how residents can walk, cycle and ride safely on the ground level while roads will run beneath the town centre. During HDB’s August sales launch of Build-To-Order flats, 1,044 units at Tengah were launched.

The infrastructure at Tengah will complement that of the car-lite precinct of Jurong Innovation District, one of five gazetted by the LTA. The other four are Marina South, Kampong Bugis, Woodlands North and Bayshore. All property developments in these future carlite precincts will require developers to submit a WCP.


tengah car lite precinct - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

Roads run beneath the town centre, while on ground level, residents can walk and cycle away from cars (Photo: LTA)


Designing car-lite precincts at non-mature greenfield sites, such as Tengah, is relatively easy, but the true challenge lies in prime or mature estates where the road, parking and footpath networks are already established. 

But as demonstrated in the mature estate of Ang Mo Kio, modifications can still be made. Currently being redesigned as a walking and cycling town, the government has widened footpaths, introduced more cycle ramps and painted the cycling paths red to clearly set them apart.

A 2.6km walking and cycling corridor is also being built between Yio Chu Kang MRT Station and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. The first portion is completed by converting the space under the MRT viaduct between Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio MRT Stations to a sheltered shared path. The corridor will be completed in 2022 with elevated paths and flyovers to create safe paths, away from roads.

Ang Mo Kio joins the ranks of established cycling towns of Tampines, Sembawang, Changi-Simei, Pasir Ris, Yishun, Punggol, Jurong Lake District and Bedok. Within the next four to five years, the HDB towns of Woodlands, Toa Payoh, Geylang and Queenstown will also see more than 40km of cycling paths being built into existing infrastructure.

Towns in the north will also be connected to the city via the North-South Corridor, a 21.5km expressway that will be completed around 2026. Cyclists can use the cycling trunk route running along the North-South Corridor for a safer journey.

Post-Covid-19, there is a possibility of relooking current space utilisation. In an addendum to the President’s Address on Aug 27, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung has said that since the pandemic has normalised working from home and staggered work hours, underused road lanes could be reclaimed and converted to cycling and bus lanes.

Cycling has become more prevalent since travel restrictions were imposed in Singapore to stem the spread of Covid-19, with bike-sharing operators SG Bike and Anywheel reporting higher ridership and longer trip usage from February to July.

However, it remains to be seen if this will result in a permanent culture shift of more people commuting on bikes. Walter Theseira, associate professor and transport economist at Singapore University of Social Sciences, observes that Phase Two of opening has seen “a return to traditional forms of transport such as trains, buses, and driving, even with continuing concerns about Covid-19 transmission risk in public transport”.


park connector network map - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

The current park connector network in Singapore. There will be 1,320km of cycling paths and park connectors by 2030, which is three times the current network length (Photo: NParks website)


It boils down to the distances between workplaces and homes, which for many people, are still simply too far to cycle, he says. “It is obvious that many public housing estates are not within a comfortable distance to the CBD or Orchard Road by bike. Improvements in dedicated bicycle path connectivity might help here to shorten the bicycling distance — along safe and separated paths,” he adds.

Rather than thinking of transport modes as mutually exclusive, Theseira says, it is better to understand that the same people can use both types of transport. “Anyone with screaming children waiting for a taxi or booking a private-hire car in the rain will tell you that cars are still efficient for certain situations,” he explains.

However, if walking and cycling becomes more accepted, it could result in the automatic inclusion of basic WCR-friendly [walk, cycle, ride] facilities in new property developments, much like how nursing rooms have become standard in malls over time, says Theseira. Such provisions by developers will in turn make cycling more comfortable and convenient in Singapore.

In the long term, constructing active mobility infrastructure and shaping greener transport modes through economic and social incentives or disincentives are necessary to create a carlite environment that is sustainable for our future generations, says NUS’s Ong.


Check out the latest listings near Paya Lebar QuarterKampong Bugis, Woodlands North, Jurong Lake District, Yio Chu Kang MRT Station, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio ParkAng Mo Kio MRT Stations

For price trends, recent transactions, other project info, check out this project's research page: Paya Lebar Quarter

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Which are the hottest HDB estates in 2Q2020?

Which are the hottest HDB estates in 2Q2020?

HDB Resale transactions - EDGEPROP Singapore

(Source:; OrangeTee & Tie)

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Despite HDB resale transactions plunging 41.9% q-o-q in 2Q2020, the public clearly preferred some neighbourhoods over others. 

Among the mature estates, Tampines emerged the top choice, transacting 217 units in 2Q, highlights OrangeTee & Tie in its report on the public housing market. This is followed by Bedok, with 180 units sold, and Ang Mo Kio, where 161 units changed hands. 

In Bishan, public flats recorded the highest average prices in 2Q, at $630,923, followed by flats in Bukit Timah, at $621,300. This is followed by HDB flats in Queenstown, which fetched average prices of $601,852 over the quarter.

Overall, resale transactions in the mature estates fell by 40.4%, from 2,230 units in 1Q to 1,329 units in 2Q. 

HDB Resale Value - EDGEPROP Singapore

(Source:; OrangeTee & Tie)

Meanwhile, the number of flats that changed hands across non-mature estates fell by 41.8% from 3,282 units in 1Q to 1,909 units in 2Q. 

Read More: HDB resale transaction volume plunges by 41.9% q-o-q in 2Q2020

More than 200 units were transacted in a number of non-mature estates. Yishun was the most popular, with 283 units sold, followed by Sengkang, which saw 260 flats sold, and Woodlands, at 223 transactions. Elsewhere, Jurong West moved 210 units while Punggol transacted 200 units. 

Flats in Hougang were the most expensive, fetching average prices of $455,936 over 2Q. This is followed by Punggol at $449,226, Sengkang at $445,635, and Bukit Panjang at $421,038.

HDB Resale Value by flat type - EDGEPROP Singapore

(Source:; OrangeTee & Tie)

To that end, OrangeTee & Tie expects HDB resale prices to trend between –2% and 1% this year, highlighting that a significant price correction is unlikely unless the pandemic worsens and unemployment rate rises significantly.

However, it cautions that a supply overhang caused by many HDB flats reaching their five-year Minimum Occupation Period could exert downward pressure on prices. 

Check out the latest listings near TampinesBedokBishan, Bukit Timah, Queenstown, Yishun, Sengkang, Woodlands, Jurong West, Punggol, Hougang and Bukit Panjang

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Hao Yuan submits highest bid of $441 mil for Bernam Street GLS site

Hao Yuan submits highest bid of $441 mil for Bernam Street GLS site

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - The Government Land Sales (GLS) site on Bernam Street attracted four bids at the close of the tender on September 5. The top bid of $440.9 million came from Chinese developer Hao Yuan Investments, and translates to a land cost of $1,463 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr). Desmond Sim, CBRE head of research for Southeast Asia says the top bid is "not surprising" as the developer's last residential project is the 736-unit Queens Peak, with the 99-year, leasehold site purchased in a GLS tender in June 2015.  

The second highest bid came from Hongkong Land and MCL Land, with Far East Organization in third place followed by Chinese developer CSC Land and partners, notes Sim.


HAO YUAN - Bids received for the GLS site on Bernam Street

Source: URA


Based on the bid price of $1,463 psf ppr submitted by Hao Yuan, Christine Li, Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia, estimates the breakeven price for the new project to be about $2,100 psf, with selling price of around $2,430 psf, assuming a 15% profit margin.

“Developers could have taken note of the encouraging sales at the nearby Sky Everton,” says Li. The 262-unit, freehold project saw 160 units sold within a month of its launch in June this year. Based on caveats lodged to date, the average transacted price achieved at Sky Everton was around $2,541 psf, she adds.

Nearby 99-year leasehold private residential properties in the Tanjong Pagar area that could have been used as references by bidders include Skysuites @ Anson and Altez, where median transacted prices from January to August 2019, were $2,066 psf and $2,247 psf respectively, notes Nicholas Mak, ERA Realty head of research & consultancy.


GLS BERNAM STREET - Nearby 99-year leasehold private residential properties in the Tanjong Pagar area that could have been used as references by bidders include Skysuites @ Anson and Altez (pictured on the left) [Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore]

Nearby 99-year leasehold private residential properties in the Tanjong Pagar area that could have been used as references by bidders include Skysuites @ Anson and Altez (pictured on the left) [Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore]


The most recent launch of a 99-year leasehold condo in the vicinity was One Pearl Bank in the neighbourhood of Outram MRT station by CapitaLand. The median transacted price was $2,359 psf, estimates ERA’s Mak.

With a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 301,403 sq ft, Ong Teck Hui, JLL senior director of research & consultancy, estimates the new project on Bernam Street could yield some 325 residential units with commercial space on the first storey.

“The site is within the area under the CBD Incentive Scheme, so more mixed commercial residential redevelopments arising from the scheme would increase the supply of residential units in the vicinity, posing greater competition,” notes Ong.


GLS BERNAM STREET - The GLS site on Bernam Street is located next to Realty Centre which was sold en bloc for $148 million in April this year (Photo: Cushman & Wakefield)

The GLS site on Bernam Street is located next to Realty Centre which was sold en bloc for $148 million in April this year (Photo: Cushman & Wakefield)


Competition could come from the neighbouring Realty Centre, a freehold office site, which was sold en bloc for $148 million in April this year, says C&W’s Li. Assuming the site is eventually redeveloped into a new commercial and residential project, under the CBD Incentive Scheme, it would enjoy a bonus 25% increase in plot ratio and could potentially yield around 60 units (assuming 60% is for residential use and an average unit size of 70 sqm), she estimates. This translates into a land cost of around $1,922 psf ppr, before any development charges, she adds.

However, the Bernam Street site enjoys good locational attributes, given its proximity to two MRT stations - Tanjong Pagar MRT station and the upcoming Prince Edward MRT station – as well as its location within the CBD, notes Li.

CBRE’s Sim adds: “In the long run, this residential development will also benefit from plans for the Greater Southern Waterfront.”

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Tanglin Halt: From old to gold

Tanglin Halt: From old to gold

The little township of Tanglin Halt sits on the cusp of Queenstown, flanked by Commonwealth MRT Station and Portsdown Flyover. Its first occupants moved in during the 1960s—Tanglin Halt’s flats were completed between 1962 and 1963—and its atmosphere is best described as exuding the original kampong spirit. With communal planting patches rioting all along the grassy plots demarcating each block, Tanglin Halt is an instant reminder of the old days in Singapore, when matriarchs brewed soup over diligently fanned charcoal fires and children climbed trees, played with marbles, and had no idea what online streaming was. 


TANGLIN - One of the Tanglin Halt blocks

One of the Tanglin Halt blocks. Photo courtesy of Ruth Loh

But progress stops for no one, not even Tanglin Halt. In June 2014, HDB put its biggest Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) plan into action. This SERS project consists of 31 blocks comprising 3,480 flats, including a selection of blocks along Commonwealth Drive.

Introduced in 1995, SERS has been called the HDB owner’s en bloc sale. To date, only 4% of HDB flats—a little more than 80 sites—have been selected for redevelopment, and HDB estimates only 5% of flats are suitable for SERS. Not all early-generation flats nearing the halfway mark of the typical HDB unit’s 99-year tenure are slated for rejuvenation. For those that are, however, existing owners are paid a compensation fee based on market value and then given the option to select a new HDB flat in a government-chosen location.

Tanglin Halt is the poster child for SERS-ready flats. The blocks picked for an architectural makeover are more than 50 years old, low-rise (at 10 stories), have empty or leftover spaces, and large surface car parks. Its housing potential is so great that analysts have said a redevelopment could produce 5,000 new homes or more.


This current SERS project affects blocks 24 to 38 and 40 to 45 at Tanglin Halt. Residents haven’t vacated the premises yet, but are expected to move in the second half of 2020. With SERS relocation, the government tries to keep the original communities intact as possible and shift residents together to the same precinct. In the case of Tanglin Halt, residents will be moved to one of these locations: SkyResidence@Dawson; SkyOasis@Dawson; SkyParc@Dawson; Dawson Vista; Forfar Heights; and Commonwealth 10. All these are a short drive away (or a long stroll, for lovers of walking) from the affected blocks.




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Most of the flats at Tanglin Halt up for SERS redevelopment are two- and three-room flats. The following table indicates the compensation range for these homeowners.


In addition, owners of flats under SERS are eligible to buy new homes at subsidised prices and receive a grant of up to S$30,000 per family or S$15,000 if the homeowner is single.

Homeowners who prefer to move elsewhere can buy a new HDB flat in other developments while keeping their SERS rehousing benefits. Homeowners can also sell their SERS unit in the resale market for a lucrative price, new homeowners inherit the original owners’ SERS compensation and rehousing benefits.

More than 40 SERS-affected units were sold within eight months of the 2014 SERS announcement as eager buyers seized the opportunity to pick fresh units with central addresses, at favourable prices. Premiums ranged from S$10,000 to S$30,000 and upwards for these homes.

As with most SERS announcements, Tanglin Halt residents inevitably gravitated into two opposing camps. Some people were happy about getting a new home with the full 99-year lease at subsidised prices, direct from HDB while others were unhappy about losing their homes and sense of belonging. In the case of Tanglin Halt, many residents had lived there since the 1960s and had sunk deep roots into the neighbourhood, where they visited the market, hawker stalls, shops, and eating houses daily.


TANGLIN - Tanglin Halt food center

Tanglin Halt food center. Photo courtesy of Ruth Loh

Apart from homeowners, the occupants of 157 market and hawker stalls, 50 shops, and four eating houses will move out by 2024. Among the new redevelopment schemes for Tanglin Halt is a plan for a new neighbourhood centre.


HDB hasn’t announced when the new flats will be ready or what their prices might be. The first Tanglin Halt SERS project was announced in January 2003 and those residents have moved into their new homes at blocks 89 to 91 on Tanglin Halt Road. The blocks earmarked for both Tanglin Halt SERS projects have not completed demolition and rebuilding. Still, the latest values from the newer 2008-completed units at Tanglin Halt might be an indicator of prices to come.


Tanglin Halt has had a good run, with more than half a century of memories and generations of families calling it home. With the government’s plans for redeveloping this prime address, the neighbourhood will have a new infusion of life, a changed atmosphere—and the chance to make its mark as a transformed locality.

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Will there be more million-dollar HDB transactions in 2019?

Will there be more million-dollar HDB transactions in 2019?

In January 2019, a 1,259 sq ft 5-room unit at the DBSS project, City View @ Boon Keng was sold for $1.185 million or $941 psf

In January 2019, a 1,259 sq ft 5-room unit at the DBSS project, City View @ Boon Keng was sold for $1.185 million or $941 psf


Last September, a HDB terrace in Jalan Bahagia changed hands for nearly $1.2 million, making it the priciest HDB unit ever sold at that point in time. The 2,551 sq ft 3-room terrace near Whampoa hit a record price of $1.185 million ($465 psf), smashing the previous $1.18 million record set by a 5-room Bishan DBSS unit sold in February 2017.

But already, this record has been matched in January 2019 when a 1,259 sq ft 5-room unit at the DBSS project, City View @ Boon Keng was sold for $1.185 million or $941 psf.

Elsewhere, a 1,151 sq ft 5-room unit at The Pinnacle@Duxton fetched $1.148 million ($997 psf) in the same month.


Will there be more million-dollar HDB transactions in 2019?

Based on HDB data, there were around 71 transactions involving resale HDB units that breached the million-dollar mark in 2018. This is compared to just 46 of such transactions in 2017, and 20 of such transaction in 2016.

“Resale flats that were sold for $1 million and above reached a record high in 2018, the highest since the year 1990,” says Christine Sun, head of research & consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie.

According to Sun, at least 20 of such units were transacted in 4Q2018 despite the year-end holidays, which typically sees slower home sales. She adds that this was higher than the 12 units sold in Q12018 and the 17 units sold in 2Q2018.

Based on these trends, we may expect to see more million-dollar HDB resale transactions in 2019, says OrangeTee & Tie’s Sun.

Also read: Singapore's million-dollar HDB hotspots


Sun explains that the consistent uptrend for million-dollar HDB transactions over the past few years is likely to continue because more HDB resale flats in prime locations such as Queenstown, Bukit Merah and Ang Mo Kio will reach their five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) this year and will be ready for resale.

“Moreover, some of these flats are bought at relatively high BTO prices. As such, their resale prices will also be higher correspondingly. Therefore we can expect more of such million-dollar flats to be transacted this year from these prime locations,” Sun concludes.

Do you think there'll be more million-dollar HDB transactions this year? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Commercial development site in Queenstown for $200 mil

Commercial development site in Queenstown for $200 mil

A 99-year leasehold site at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Margaret Drive is on the market for $200 mil. The site’s tenure started on January 1 1975, and the 32,305 sq ft vacant plot used to be the site of the former Queenstown Cinema. Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) is the marketing agent for the sale.

Located 300m to the Queenstown MRT station, the site has been granted Written Permission to be developed into a six-storey commercial building comprising shops, restaurants, community institutions, and a cineplex with basement car parking lots. The approved gross floor area (GFA) is 96,914 sq ft, and no development charge is payable. The current asking price translates to $2,063 psf over the approved GFA.

(Picture: Cushman & Wakefield)

“The immediate neighbourhood of the subject site is undergoing massive rejuvenation with multiple new condominium developments such as Stirling Residences, Margaret Ville, Commonwealth Towers and Queens Peak, as well as new public housing projects including SkyOasis @ Dawson, Skyresidence @ Dawson, Skyville @ Dawson and Skypac @ Dawson,” says Shaun Poh, executive director of capital markets at C&W.

The site for sale is the only commercial site available on the market in the area, and when completed, it would cater to more than 17,000 households around the new and existing residential developments in the area, he adds.

The tender closes on Jan 8 2019.

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VERS - game changer for HDB market

VERS - game changer for HDB market


Like many HDB flat owners living in mature HDB estates, retiree Ms Lew has been worrying about the remaining lease on her 700 sq ft, three-room HDB flat in Marine Parade, and wondering how much it would fetch in the resale market. Like the other 7,862 HDB flats in Marine Parade, Lew’s flat was built between 1972 and 1975.


HDB estates built in the 1970s, such as Marine Parade, Bedok and Ang Mo Kio, would be among the first to undergo VERS (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Lew bought her resale flat some 10 years ago because she likes the convenience of the location and the amenities there. She is also looking forward to the completion of the new Marine Terrace MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line that is currently under construction just across from her block. “I knew the flat was leasehold, but I wasn’t thinking of the implications when I bought it,” she says. She reckons that her lease has another 50-plus years left.

The reality of the depleting lease sank in when Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, in his blog post on March 24, 2017, cautioned HDB flat owners not to assume that their flats would automatically be eligible for the Selective En- bloc Redevelopment Scheme. Wong wrote, “SERS, as the name implies, is on a selective basis. It is only offered to HDB blocks located in sites with high redevelopment potential.”

To allay the fears of HDB home- owners like Lew, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the issue of depleting leases of older HDB flats during his National Day Rally speech on Aug 19. He announced a new Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme, to be rolled out in about 20 years. He said HDB estates built in the 1970s, such as Marine Parade, Bedok and Ang Mo Kio, would be among the first to undergo VERS. Unlike SERS, which is decided by the HDB and residents do not get to vote, VERS will be open to voting.


Queenstown has one of the oldest flats. Large-scale redevelopment efforts such as VERS present the government with a good opportunity to rebuild some of the older precincts and introduce “new and exciting concepts of living” into the older towns (Credit: Bloomberg)


Tan Tiong Cheng, president of Knight Frank Asia Pacific and adviser to Knight Frank Singapore, believes the announcement of VERS is timely, as about 250,000 flats out of the HDB housing stock of more than a million have already reached 45 to 55 years old, which means they have 40 to 50 years left on their leases. “That’s about 25% of the HDB housing stock,” he adds.

The prime minister also announced that every HDB flat would undergo two rounds of upgrading works dur- ing the 99-year lease period, with the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) for flats that hit the 30-year mark, and a new HIP2 to be rolled out for ageing flats at the 60- to 70-year mark. HIP will be extended to HDB blocks constructed between 1987 and 1997 and will involve another 230,000 flats in estates such as Pasir Ris, Yishun, Tampines and Jurong.


“Asset enhancement is thus necessary,” says Knight Frank’s Tan. After all, 79% of Singapore resident households live in HDB flats. Another 15.6% live in condominiums and apartments, while 5.1% live in landed property. Singapore’s home ownership rate is a high 90.7%, according to the Department of Statistics.


Tan: If the government is able to successfully execute HIP2 and VERS, Singapore a role model for the rest of the world in solving the issue of public housing without urban decay, slums or racial enclaves (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


“If the government is able to successfully execute HIP2 and VERS, Singapore will be the only country in the world to have truly solved the public housing issue, where ageing estates will be rejuvenated and there will be no urban decay, slums or racial enclaves,” says Tan. “That will make Singapore a role model for the rest of the world.”

Conceptually, VERS will give owners of 99-year leasehold flats an exit by cashing out or moving into a new flat, notes Tan. The alternative would be that their HDB flat will have zero value at the end of the 99-year lease. The proceeds from VERS are based on the remaining lease of 20 to 29 years, and are unlikely to match the amount offered by property developers for en bloc sites in the private residential market, he points out. The government has already said the pay- out from VERS will be significantly lower than from SERS.

Only about 5% of HDB blocks in mature estates are suitable for SERS, according to HDB. Of about 80 HDB precincts that have been identified for SERS, 61 have undergone redevelop- ment, another eight are in the midst of being redeveloped and 11 have yet to be redeveloped. About 130 precincts have benefited from retrofit- ting via HIP1 with the addition of the extra utility room for every unit and lifts that stop at every floor. The bill for the lease buyback scheme, SERS and the number of precincts scheduled for HIP1 just a few years ago is about $4 billion.


The Evolution of Singapore Real Estate - Journey of the Past and Future: 1940-2015 (Credit: Knight Frank 75th Anniversary Book) 


While the broad concept of VERS has been outlined, there are many details that have yet to be worked out. “We will need time to do so,” says Minister Wong. These include the extent of the coverage for VERS and how compensation will be computed. “In particular, we will ensure that we implement VERS in a fiscally sustainable way so that it will not be a bur- den for the next generation,” he adds.

According to Minister Wong, residents who do not get VERS or are not in favour of it will continue to live in their flats and benefit from two rounds of upgrading. If they need a place to live at the end of the lease, the government will help them get another flat — a new built-to-order [BTO] flat if they are eligible, a re- sale flat with a shorter lease or a two- room flexi flat — for their retirement.

For the elderly who wish to age in place and do not have sufficient savings, lease buyback is an option for them. “VERS is not a solution for them now,” says Knight Frank’s Tan.


Residents in these future HDB towns will also have the assurance that their properties will be upgraded twice during their 99-year lease, and that they have the option to exit via VERS when the lease hits 70 years (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


For the government, large-scale redevelopment efforts such as VERS present a good opportunity to rebuild some of the older precincts and introduce “new and exciting concepts of living” into the older towns, said Minister Wong in Parliament on Sept 10. “To achieve this, we will need to carefully study how to select the precincts and to stage the redevelopment precinct by precinct, town by town,” he said.

With VERS, the government will essentially be able to redevelop entire precincts like greenfield sites, similar to the upcoming Bidadari and Tengah estates, says Knight Frank’s Tan. “The new generation of HDB flats and precincts is likely to be very different from those of today,” he reckons.

The next-generation HDB estates could feature “Smart Nation Plus” initiatives, use new and more efficient construction methods as well as offer infrastructure and lifestyle amenities that will make them desirable neighbourhoods. Units can also be modular or prefabricated, which means they can be built quickly. Homeowners could h have the flexibility to make changes within their HDB flat according to the changes in their lifestyle needs over time, he adds.


HDB flats in Bishan overlooking Bishan Park. The new generation of HDB flats and precincts is likely to be very different from those of today (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Tan sees VERS as “a game changer” for the HDB housing market. “It will also change the perception of public housing, making it a desirable form of housing over the long term,” he says.

Residents in these future HDB towns will also have the assurance that their properties will be upgraded twice during their 99-year lease, and that they have the option to exit via VERS when the lease hits 70 years, says Tan.

HDB homeowners are still able to buy a private residential property to upgrade or as an investment if they want to, without having to sell their HDB flat. “The higher additional buyer’s stamp duty acts like a wealth tax,” Tan says. “There will still be [upgrader demand]. Most still hope to invest in residential property as a nest egg for retirement.”


HDB homeowners are still able to buy a private residential property to upgrade or as an investment if they want to, without having to sell their HDB flat (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)




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Will property developers be able to participate in VERS like they have in collective sales of ageing private property? Last year, the government announced that it would launch a pilot scheme for a “master developer” approach, with the first site being in the Kallang area. The government had earlier decided on a master developer approach for certain sites, especially new districts or areas to be rejuvenated.

“If the master developer scheme works out, it could well be applied to selected HDB precincts,” says Tan.

Minister Wong says, “I will not rule out the possibility of having private developers being involved and we will study the suggestion carefully. But let’s be very clear: Our aim is to redevelop public housing estates. We will ensure that any redevelopment is done in a way that preserves the character of our HDB towns and supports HDB’s mission to provide affordable and quality homes for Singaporeans.”


Minister Lawrence Wong was the keynote speaker at the Urban Land Institute Asia Pacific Summit in 2017 (pictured). On Sept 10, Wong said in parliament that he "will not rule out the possibility" of having private developers being involved in VERS and will study the suggestion carefully (Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


VERS ensures that people will not be without housing when the lease of their flat expires, says Tan.

Those living in three-room flats in first-generation HDB estates such as Queenstown, Bukit Merah and Toa Payoh are already seeing the impact that a depleting lease has on the prices of their properties. In Queenstown, for example, a 678 sq ft, three-room (two bedrooms and one living/dining area) HDB flat on Commonwealth Drive with a 99-year lease starting from 2015 costs $600,000, while a 689 sq ft, three-room flat on Commonwealth Crescent built in 1970 is priced at $290,000.  

However, even then, prices have increased significantly over time. Tan recalls how a three-room flat in Queenstown was priced at $10,000 to $11,000 in 1972. That was when he returned to Singapore after graduating at the top of his class with a Diploma in Urban Valuation from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The price of a three-room flat then was the equivalent of 11⁄2 years of his starting salary. “It was certainly affordable then,” he relates.


The flats at Kim Tian Road in Bukit Merah are among the oldest HDB flats in Singapore (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Forty-five years on, the median monthly salary of a fresh graduate from the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University or Singapore Management University was about $3,500 in 2017. Three-room BTO flats in 2017 were priced from $145,000, excluding government housing grants, says Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty. That is equivalent to 31⁄2 years of the salary of a fresh graduate today.

However, graduates are more likely to opt for a four-room BTO flat than a three-room flat, points out Lim. A four-room BTO flat is priced from $236,000, excluding housing grants, and that trans- lates into 5.6 years’ the salary of a fresh graduate. “BTO remains the most affordable housing for young graduates,” he adds.

VERS also provides hope for retirees like Marine Parade resident Lew. “Without knowing the details, I wholeheartedly welcome this move to address my concerns. But does my flat fall under VERS or SERS?” 

— With additional reporting by Timothy Tay








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Your Property Agent Says: Why do people spend $1 mil on resale HDB flats?

Your Property Agent Says: Why do people spend $1 mil on resale HDB flats?

Many people might balk at the idea of spending a million dollars for a resale HDB flat. One reason for this is because resale flats, especially those in mature estates, tend to come with shorter leases, and not to mention potentially higher renovation costs.

Flats in older estates such as Toa Payoh or Ang Mo Kio for instance, could easily have leases with less than 70 years remaining.

Findings from our recent poll results on our Instagram account suggested the same thing, with 95% of respondents saying that they would not pay $1 million for a 5-room resale flat.

We asked and you answered: 95% of our Instagram respondents said “no” to buying a million-dollar resale flat

And yet, million-dollar HDB transactions continue to crop up and catch us by surprise. Most recently, a 5-room HDB flat in Queenstown was sold for $1.1 million in June, setting a new record for the area.

The million-dollar resale unit at Block 18C of Holland Drive is located between the 37th and 39th floors with a floor area of 1,259 sq ft. This works out to about S$874 psf on the built-up area.

A 5-room HDB flat in Queenstown was sold for $1.1 million in June

So, what’s driving these transactions? For answers, we spoke to ERA’s senior marketing director, Joyyce Goh -  the seller’s agent who helped close the million-dollar deal.


1) Location

According to ERA’s Goh, location is the number one factor that is driving these million-dollar transactions. HDB units that have commanded $1 million and above are all located in the central region, she notes.

Their appeal is elevated by the fact that fewer new flats are being launched in these mature estates. Which is why, buyers are willing to pay a premium for homes in these locations, Goh says.

The Queenstown flat that fetched $1.1 million is located on Holland Drive and is less than 400m from Buona Vista MRT station. Several shopping outlets such as Anchorpoint Shopping Centre, The Star Vista and Holland Road Shopping Centre are also nearby.

This is consistent with our earlier research on million-dollar HDB hotspots, which suggested that the dramatic rise in HDB resale values are a clear indication that Singaporeans are willing to pay top dollar for homes located in central areas. In particular, homes in mature estates that are located close to MRT stations, and amenities such as schools and malls are favoured.


2) Age of the property

Another factor to consider is the property’s age, says ERA’s Goh. Built under the Selected En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), the $1.1 million Queenstown unit has a remaining lease of 93 years. SERS was developed by the government to rejuvenate old estates and to redevelop them.

The thing about SERS projects is that they tend to be in central locations that are surrounded by a host of facilities and amenities.

Another SERS project that has seen transactions above the million-dollar mark include Clementi Towers, which is the first HDB project to be integrated with a mall and a bus interchange that is linked directly to the MRT station.

Other SERS projects that have been known for transactions above $1 million include Block 50 Commonwealth Drive in The Commonwealth and 18D Holland Drive in Holland Village.


3) Unblocked views

One of the first things that potential buyers check out when visiting a place is to take in the view from the unit. So it is no surprise that properties with great, unblocked views tend to command a higher price, says ERA’s Goh.

It is also for this reason that these million-dollar units tend to be located on higher floors, Goh adds.

“There are so many units within the same vicinity, the same development, and they tend to have the same layout. Having an unblocked view is one of the factors that make a unit stand out,” she shares.

For comparison’s sake, the $1.1 million ($874 psf) Queenstown HDB unit transacted at 15% higher psf compared to the unit below, which recently sold for $945,000 (S$751 psf).


4) Size and price

Finally, another contributing factor to the million-dollar HDB trend could also be that condo and EC sizes are shrinking. Extended families who require larger spaces for a more comfortable lifestyle would likely look at buying older but larger HDB units.

For instance, the $1.1 million sale of the 1,259 sq ft Queenstown flat worked up to about $874 psf. In comparison, resale condos of a similar size range within the Queenstown area transacted at an average of $1.58 million or $1,309 psf in the first six months of 2018. Further, these transactions took place in older developments such as The Anchorage, Le Hill Condominium and The Rochester.

It’s not just the size - the growing disparity in condo and HDB home prices have made it increasingly difficult for HDB homeowners to make the jump toward private properties.

For those with budget constraints, the surge in private home prices may push them in the direction of the HDB resale market.

“The combination of a larger space at a lower price could be a driving factor for families who do not wish to pay so much for a private property,” ERA’s Goh shares.

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