Before we go into what makes a record breaking HDB unit (by total price or per square foot (psf) basis), let’s re-visit some of the record breaking HDB units reported in the news over the past 5 years.
Here we go:
- June 2007: Five-room HDB flat goes for $720,000 ($720,000) (COV$150k) (est 1,238) ($581 psf)
- November 2007: HDB flat sold – for record $730,000 ($730,000)
- November 2007: $750,888 for 5-rm Marine Parade flat ($750,888) (1,300 sq ft) ($577 psf)
- December 2007: Three-room flat goes for $380,000 ($382,000) (COV approx $100k) (approx $580 psf)
- January 2008: Queenstown flat sold for record $890k ($890,000) (1,614 sqft) ($552 psf)
- January 2008: 4-room Jalan Membina flat sells for a record $609 psf ($590,000) (COV $115k) (969 sqft) ($609 psf)
- November 2009: Record psf for Forfar Heights ‘top floor’ 4-room flat ($653,000) (COV $68k) (969 sqft) ($674 psf)
- January 2010: Two-room flat costs more than a four-room ($245,000) (approx 570 sqft) ($429 psf)
- March 2010: Bras Basah four-room unit breaks psf record ($650,000) (COV $70k) (est 883 sqft) ($736 psf)
- April 2010: Queenstown HDB flat nearly sold for $950,000
- April 2010: Bishan maisonette fetches record $900,000 ($900,000) (COV $170k) (1,860 sqft) ($483 psf)
- June 2011: $880,000: Priciest flats launched in Tampines ($750 psf)
- March 2012: Toa Payoh flat sold for record S$894,000 ($894,000) (1,184 sqft) ($755 psf)
- April 2012: HDB units in Bishan, Queenstown and Upper Boon Keng hits $900k (various)
- April 2012: Experts say HDB prices unlikely to hit $1 million (yes, very amusing to read on hindsight)
- September 2012: ‘Sky terrace’ Bishan maisonette smashes record at $980k ($980,000) (COV $200k) (1,754 sqft) ($559 psf)
- September 2012: Expect more million dollar resale flats in resale market ($1,000,000) (COV $195k) (1,614 sqft) ($620 psf)
The list does not include HUDCs. Those units have routinely pass $1 million in recent years anyway due to their ‘privatised’ nature and large units (typically much bigger than the executive HDB units).
So what makes a record breaking transaction? From reading the articles, my thoughts are:
- Willing buyer – all other factors are irrelevant if you can’t find a willing seller, typically one that is very very cash-rich, and crazily in love with their soon-to-be new home.
- Central location in mature estates – most of the record breaking transactions are located in mature and centrally located HDB estates like Bishan, Queenstown, and Bras Basah. I expect Duxton Plains and Dawson units to join the ranks when they reach their minimum occupation period (MOP).
- Large sizes – In terms of absolute price, it would be the bigger units that will fetch higher record prices for obvious reasons.
- Unblocked/great view and height – Higher floor and better views means better prices. Just refer to the Tiong Bahru and Marine Parade ones as example. A few of the record breaking units are also top floor units.
- Unique layout – that would apply to the ‘sky terrace’ units in Bishan, as well as the loft units in Dawson when they are up.
- Rarity – The Toa Payoh unit is an example.
- Well renovated – It’s a factor in only some of the cases, but it does contribute to the overall price of units. Of course, location sort of trumps renovation else we would see record breaking transactions in other estates too.
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