The Singaporean internet is chock-full of those “HDB vs Condo” articles and forum posts. As an avid reader of a lot of these posts, the consensus seems to be that you have to sacrifice the affordability and convenience of a HDB for those gorgeous condo views and amenities, and vice versa.
What if we told you that you can, in fact, have the best of both worlds. Here are 11 HDB projects that can pass off as condos, while still not feeling like you’ve burnt a giant hole in your pocket.
The Pinnacle @ Duxton
Image credit: @gaodishoots
As HDB’s first 50-storey housing project, The Pinnacle@Duxton is aptly named for its buildings that tower over the others in the vicinity. The HDB development is also witness to a few records in Singaporean housing history, thanks to their two sky gardens. At 500m each, the sky gardens are the two longest ever built on skyscrapers. In addition, its units have 35 different floor plan configurations, talk about being spoiled for a choice.
The Pinnacle’s running track on the 26th floor, right next to a climbing structure.
Image credit: @singaporebuildings
Perhaps also wanting their residents to be the pinnacle of health, the development features various amenities like fitness corners, sky gardens, playgrounds, and even a whole running track within their premises.
The floorplan of a unit in The Pinnacle.
Image credit: HDB
Interior wise, the units in The Pinnacle@Duxtonhave floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere from the living room to the bedrooms. To top that all off, the units are also 2% bigger than that of average 5-room flats.
A renovated Pinnacle @ Duxton flat.
Image credit: Inizio Atelier
SkyTerrace @ Dawson
Image credit: @russian_singapore
The SkyTerrace @ Dawson is named after its rooftop gardens. The perfect intersection of landscape and architecture, the SkyTerrace even has vertical hanging gardens around certain sections. Blocks are arranged in a unique manner reminiscent of Tetris blocks, another factor that makes them stand out among the other HDB estates in the area.
The star of the show here is the condo’s loft apartments. Conceptualised as a multi-generational home, these lofts are attached to studio apartments, so the two can be accessed through a mezzanine floor. This arrangement enables multiple family units to live under the same roof, while also maintaining some semblance of privacy.
An abundance of large windows in a SkyTerrace @ Dawson flat.
Image credit: Studio Super Safari
SkyTerrace@Dawson’s loft apartment floor plan.
Image credit: Dawsonites
City Vue @ Henderson
Image credit: @jon.chiang
No you’re not watching Inception, this is a real life building that exists right in our sunny island – City Vue @ Henderson, not to be confused with City View @ Boon Keng, which we will talk about later. The thing City Vue is most known for though, is the panoramic views of Singapore’s gorgeous skyline from its blocks.
They are all about natural living too: they have a sky garden on their 28th floor, as well as a community garden for the more green-thumbed. At first glance, the floor plans seem no different from your typical HDBs, but a closer look reveals their large windows, giving units plenty of natural light depending on the time of day.
City Vue’s floor plan for 5-room units.
Image credit: 99.co
Also, while there are not many amenities available on their premises, City View sits just across the road from Delta Swimming Complex – just in case you need that extra Vitamin D.
City View @ Boon Keng
Image credit: Street Directory
With its proximity to the Central Business District and its expansive balconies, it’s no surprise that City View @ Boon Keng has been hotly contested since its units were first put on the market. They also have convenient onsite facilities like BBQ pits, a pavilion that functions as a void deck for weddings, funerals and parties, as well as a fitness area and playground.
What truly makes City View stand out though, would definitely be their gated entrances to the living spaces. A step away from the HDB blocks that are usually accessible to everyone, residents who value safety and privacy would definitely appreciate this.
City View’s living room and balcony.
Image credit: Minutiae
Those who also enjoy fresh air, but are too lazy to make the trip down to a park would be glad to know that City View’s units come with balconies so large, they’re almost half the size of the living room. Usually, you would have to look at premium condo developments to find balconies of this size and bay windows in almost every bedroom.
City View’s floor plan.
Image credit: Carousell
Waterway Terrace I @ Punggol
Image credit: Google Maps
The Waterway Terraces first gained attention for its unique design, inspired by the rice terraces found in and around Asia. It also looks like something you might find in those Sci-Fi movies about a utopian Mars: hexagonal-shaped blocks surrounding a common space. Thick and lush greenery also dot the premises, so those post-lunch walks definitely have the added benefit of being a lot cooler than usual.
A colourful lift lobby at Waterway Terrace I.
Image credit: World Architecture News
If you are about multi-generational living, each lift lobby is colour-coded, making it dementia-friendly and also easy for children to remember where they live. In addition, the adoption of solar panels has also helped them save 1,578,200kWh of electricity per year, which they got the Green Mark Platinum Award for.
Waterway Terraces’ 4-room unit floor plan.
Image credit: HDB
Like most HDBs that can pass off as condos, Waterway Terrace I also boasts a balcony available in every unit, which is shared between two rooms. We assume it’s a good hangout spot, or for drying the laundry that can’t fit into your service yard.
Natura Loft @ Bishan
Image credit: @aloysnaps
Like most DBSS projects, Natura Loft @ Bishan gives no indication of it being a HDB project. That is, until you see the huge block numbers painted on the side. Despite being nowhere near the sea, the curvature of the building gives it a very coastal feel. Residents also say that the estate is very well-maintained, especially for a development that is more than 10 years old.
They have pretty good amenities too: BBQ pits, floor-to-ceiling windows that give you good views of the surrounding buildings and greenery, playgrounds and exercise areas, and even a foot reflexology path.
Image credit: @sumofussg
As seen in the floor plans, there is a spacious balcony in every unit, right outside the master bedroom. Now you can say you wake up on the right side of the bed everyday, especially with uninterrupted views of the Bishan area.
The floor plan of one of Natura Loft’s units.
Image credit: NATURA LOFT
Belvia @ Bedok Reservoir
Image credit: JGP Architecture
Belvia @ Bedok Reservoir has more of the vibes of an upscale apartment building in downtown LA than it does a HDB project. A bit plain as far as DBSS projects might go, but we get why people might appreciate the minimalism.
The floor plan of a Type B1A 4-room unit in Belvia.
Image credit: Property2Day
One thing residents would appreciate is the full-length windows, which ensures each unit gets plenty of natural light and ventilation, especially on cooler windy days. Their balconies also don’t lose to the ones at City View in terms of size either.
As a new HDB development, Belvia has all the amenities you would expect from one: BBQ pits, fitness corners, and a playground, which is pretty extensive and can accommodate toddlers to primary-school aged children. While they don’t have much within their premises, there is a supermarket, McDonald’s and bubble tea store right across the street, so not much to complain about after all.
Pasir Ris One
Image credit: @pasirrisproperty
In case you need any more proof on how fancy this cluster looks, my family and I drove past Pasir Ris One while it was still in its development stage, and we thought their multi-storey carpark was a new mall.
The interior of one of Pasir Ris One’s units.
Image credit: @daryl.interiordesign
Pasir Ris One’s balconies are also some of the largest we’ve seen across the board, even for a DBSS. Some homeowners have converted said balcony into a dining area, so they can watch the sunset with a nice candlelit dinner. You also get two per unit, which is very worth it in our opinion, especially if you are paying HDB prices for premium condo layouts.
Pasir Ris One’s 4-room unit floor plan.
Image credit: Pasir Ris One DBSS
Pasir Ris One has the typical amenities of a high-rise housing project in the mid-2010s: playgrounds, fitness centres – including one that is elder-friendly, and void deck-like pavilions that can be used for large-scale events. Also, Pasir Ris One is right opposite White Sands Mall, so you know where to go for midnight grocery runs. The mall is attached to Pasir Ris MRT station, which means you save travel time after a very long ride on the EWL.
The Premiere @ Tampines
Image credit: Google Maps
Glass in its facade? Check. Cantilevered balconies? Also check. The Premiere @ Tampines looks like one of those premium condos, so many are pretty surprised when they get to know it is, in fact, a HDB estate.
The Premiere’s balcony.
Image credit: @deb_visuals
Each unit in The Premiere @ Tampines gets their own balcony that provides good views of the surrounding Tampines estate, as well as giant windows that ensure that you get the most out of the fresh morning air and afternoon golden hour. There’s also a planter attached to the balcony, so there’s no better time than the present to hone some of your gardening skills.
In addition, the balcony deviates from the usual rectangular shape, instead, its square design ensures versatility and makes it easy to be converted into another room if needed.
The Premiere’s 5-room unit floor plan.
Image credit: Carousell
The development provides the standard amenities one would expect, including fitness centres, playgrounds and even a clinic in the vicinity. If you happen to be bored, sign up for some activities at Tampines Community Centre, or get your shopping done at Tampines Mall, both of which are within a 10-minute walking distance of The Premiere.
Image credit: SRX
A skyscraper hotel? Nope, just Trivelis. As with many DBSS developments, the Trivelis features a balcony, as well as big windows for ventilation. Like City View @ Boon Keng, Trivelis takes their security seriously, so they have gated entrances to the residential units. This is something the more private homeowners seem to appreciate, as we have found.
Another thing to take into consideration is their extensive parking area: they have 885 parking spaces for slightly more units, which is on par with most condos. This means that you’ll probably never have to worry about parking, that is, unless your neighbours own more than one car.
The Trivelis seems to have been built with an active and close-knit community in mind, as seen in their onsite amenities: community gardens with seating areas, spacious playgrounds and fitness centres and communal areas like pavilions.
The Peak @ Toa Payoh
Image credit: JGP Architecture
On first impressions, The Peak’s impressive development gives off the kind of vibe you would get from a cluster of condo blocks. They even have a little sculpture at the entrance in case the fancy feels weren’t obvious enough.
Like the Trivelis and City View developments, The Peak also seems to value their security, and their gated entrances to the living spaces are not beating the upscale apartment allegations.
Image credit: Home Hub and Living
Similar to most DBSS developments, each unit in The Peak comes with its own balcony, some units even have a bird’s-eye view of MacRitchie Reservoir. Each bedroom also comes with a bay window, which is perfect for chill evenings of just watching the sunset with a good book.
The Peak’s floor plan.
Image credit: HDB
They also have a ton of amenities, which is great if you’re a homebody who doesn’t like to be away from home for too long. These amenities include: large playgrounds – both dry and wet, elder-friendly fitness stations, rooftop and community gardens, foot reflexology paths and BBQ pits.
HDBs That Can Pass Off As Condos
The luxury of a condo with the affordability of a HDB? As Hannah Montana sings and these developments prove, you can indeed have “the best of both worlds” sometimes. However, as the housing market gets increasingly competitive and costs continue to soar, there’s no telling when the affordability factor may have to be sacrificed for quality.
That being said, we are content to just eye these properties and hope that one day, we too, can afford something like it.
For more on HDBs:
- Where to find HDB flats with balconies
- 10 HDB towns for affordable 5-room resales
- Guide to selling your HDB flat
This article was originally published on 20th December 2022, and updated on 9th November 2023.
Cover image adapted from: @pasirrisproperty, @sumofussg, @jon.chiang
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