Property: Record sale for Bishan DBSS flat — $1.18 million!

(Photo: The Straits Times)

A Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat in Bishan has fetched a record $1.18 million in the priciest public housing resale deal to date.

The five-roomer is one of just 12 penthouse units in the three-block, 480-unit Natura Loft project.

Singapore Realtor Inc agent Joey Chan, who represented the seller, said the flat's attractive points included its panoramic view, central location and spaciousness.

At 120 sq m, the flat is larger than typical 110 sq m five-room Housing Board (HDB) flats today, but comparable to older HDB flats.

The $1.18 million deal on Sunday beats previous records set by DBSS flats or the Pinnacle@Duxton HDB project. A City View @ Boon Keng DBSS unit went for $1.1 million in August, while one at the Pinnacle fetched $1.12 million in September.

Though considered public housing, DBSS flats are developed and sold by private developers, not the HDB. Meant to provide condominium-style homes, the scheme was suspended in 2011 after public unhappiness over high selling prices.

When originally sold via balloting, Natura Loft units cost $465,000 to $586,000 for 95 sq m four-roomers and $590,000 to $739,000 for five-roomers.

Since meeting the five-year minimum occupation period last year, at least 25 other units there have been sold on the resale market: 14 four-room flats at prices ranging from $700,008 to $818,000, and 11 other five-roomers, from $830,000 to $1.04 million.

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said such prices are not representative of the broader resale market, which has stagnated for the last 1.5 years.

But they are within expectations for upmarket DBSS flats in the central town of Bishan, he added.

HDB resale flats in Bishan also fetch high prices. In the last six months, five-roomers there had sold for $600,000 to $878,000.

SLP International Property Consultants head of research Nicholas Mak said Natura Loft's location near Catholic High School, which has a primary school section, could contribute to high resale prices.

International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong pointed out, however, that the $1.18 million price works out to more than $900 per sq ft (psf) - for which the buyer could have bought private property.

In the last six months, several resale condominium units in Bishan have been sold for about $850 to $1,000 psf.

"Private property has more flexibility as you can sell to foreigners, for instance," he noted. Only Singaporeans or permanent residents can buy DBSS units.

Condominiums also have the advantages of being gated and having shared facilities such as pools, unlike DBSS developments, he added.

Natura Loft is one of several DBSS projects which became eligible for resale last year, along with City View, Park Central in Ang Mo Kio, and Parc Lumiere in Simei.

Written by Janice Heng for The Straits Times