Property: Record-breaking sale for four-room HDB flat in Singapore

(image: Berita Harian)

A four-room HDB flat in the city has sold for as much as a similar-sized condominium unit in the heartland. The price: Just $10,000 short of $1 million, making it the most expensive four-room resale flat ever. 

The 1,001 sq ft high-rise unit at the iconic Pinnacle@Duxton, which has a view of skyscrapers, the port and the sea, went for $990,000 in September. This translates to $989 per square foot, which rivals the prices of some condominiums. For instance, a check on portal STProperty revealed a 99-year lease condominium of a similar size at Simei going for $980,000.

Mr Christopher Hong, senior marketing director at ERA, who represented the seller, said the offer was close to the asking price of his client. He would only reveal that the unit is between the 43rd and 45th storeys. The flat, which was owned by a young family, was put up for sale for more than two months and attracted more than 30 viewers.

Mr Hong said: "This unit does not face the west, is windy, and offers an unblocked view. The owner spent about $50,000 on renovation and the flat gives off a comfortable vibe."

(image: Shin Min Daily News)

Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday that the seller paid $500,000 for the flat in 2009 after looking at more than 100 units at Pinnacle@Duxton. Although HDB resale prices have fallen for nine consecutive quarters, prices in the central area, where Pinnacle@Duxton is located, seem to be bucking the trend. 

The Pinnacle @ Duxton at Cantonment Road has Singapore's tallest HDB blocks - at 50 storeys - and consists of 1,848 units in seven blocks. The development has had more than 110 transactions in the past year after most flats there reached the minimum occupation period (MOP) of five years.

Statistics on the HDB website show that seven out of 31 of the five-room flats went for $1 million or more and 18 four-room flats went for more than $900,000. But $990,000 for a four-room flat is a record deal, in terms of per square foot price, according to HDB stats.

Propnex group director Lawrence Tan, who specialises in Pinnacle@Duxton units, said this is a unique case. 

"In general, buyers face restrictions placed on HDB flats, including eligibility requirements and loan limitations such as the mortgage service ratio and the actual valuation of the flat," he said.


"Nonetheless, it will not be surprising that any record-breaking HDB transaction would involve a flat at the Pinnacle@Duxton."

ERA senior marketing director Clarice Tan was also not surprised by the record sale. She said: "Although the overall resale market might not be as buoyant as before, the demand for Pinnacle@Duxton is always present."

Mr Tan, who has made 19 transactions so far in the estate, said the majority of buyers are working professionals who want to live near their workplace in the CBD. He said: "The Pinnacle@Duxton offers the lowest quantum for a property right in the heart of the city."

Ms Tan said the Pinnacle@Duxton's reputation as a unique and iconic development in Singapore is another factor. "Besides, the buyers also know that it is a good investment for the future if they are planning to rent it out," she said. Panoramic views of the city and sea are another bonus, said Ms Tan, adding that some might even be willing to foot a premium of up to $50,000 for a "million-dollar view". "Five-room flats above 40 storeys may likely fetch at least $1 million because of the limited supply. Some four-room flat sellers might also be expecting that amount as well," she added.

LHG Properties branch director Patrick Ong said that demand for Pinnacle@Duxton flats will continue as more batches of units in the estate reach MOP. "Some clients prefer the city view, some prefer the harbour view. There are still some people who are trying to find the perfect unit there," he said.

More resale flats sold, but prices flat

Resale flat transactions increased by 16 per cent last month, according to statistics from online real estate portal SRX. A total of 1,745 HDB resale flats - the largest volume this year - were sold last month, compared with 1,504 units in September. The number of resale flats sold is also 12.4 per cent higher compared to the same period last year, but 52.2 per cent lower compared to the peak of 3,649 units in May 2010.

Prices, however, remained flat last month. The resale prices of three-room and executive flats increased by 0.7 per cent and 0.9 per cent while the prices of four- and five-room flats decreased by 0.8 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively. Year-on-year, resale prices have decreased by 2.6 per cent and have fallen 11.7 per cent since the peak in April 2013.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy department at SLP International Property Consultants, said the sharp increase in resale volume last month could be due to the positive effect of the new HDB housing policies announced at the National Day Rally in August.


"Particularly, they are the new Proximity Housing Grant and the higher income ceilings for the Central Provident Fund Housing Grant for resale flats," he said. Mr Mak said that the government's plans to maintain the steady supply of new Build-to-Order flats means that resale prices are unlikely to rise. "However, the lower resale prices could also attract an increasing number of buyers," he said.

(First published in The New Paper)


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