We’re all familiar with the typical layouts of our HDB flats, after all, they’re only so many combinations on the market. But beyond executive maisonettes and DBSS flats with expansive balconies, another rare unicorn of an HDB flat exists and it’s none other than your HDB loft unit.
Needless to say, these units are highly coveted by homeowners looking for public housing with the “perks” of a landed home. And no thanks to their limited quantities, HDB loft units are also more expensive than the typical HDB resale flats.
Here’s everything you need to know about HDB Loft units, and where we can find them here in Singapore.
What exactly are HDB loft units?
Image credit: Superhome Design
HDB loft units can be easily confused with maisonettes, for the sheer fact that both are 2-storey HDB units. However, there are a few key differences between maisonettes and loft units: bedrooms in maisonettes are only located on the second floor, whereas bedrooms in loft units can be found on both floors.
In addition, both levels of maisonettes have relatively similar floor sizes, whereas loft units only have partial second floors – hence the name. For the latter, this gives the unit double-volume ceilings, and an abundance of natural light flooding into the unit.
A sample floor plan of a loft unit at Skyville @ Dawson.
Image credit: Dawsonites
You may also be interested to know that the HDB stopped building maisonettes in 1995, however lofts are still being built in newer HDB estates, albeit in very small quantities. Why build loft units?
The facade of SkyTerrace @ Dawson.
Image credit: @li.lium.lj
Well, we can only guess that it was meant to be an option for Singaporeans with deeper pockets to afford some luxury, while still falling under the ambit of public housing. Something like having the best of both worlds?
Notable loft units that have made the news
There are a couple of notable loft units that have made headlines in the property market in recent times.
Most recently, a check on the HDB’s Resale Price Checker revealed that a loft unit in Punggol Sapphire (Punggol Field Block 268C) was just sold for $1.198M this month. Yes you read that right – a flat in Punggol has just been sold for over a million dollars. Let that sink in for a while!
Image adapted from: HDB
The $1.198M loft unit is located somewhere on the 16th-18th floor, with a remaining lease of around 89 years. It has a relatively decent floor size of 149sqm (1,603sqft) and is one out of 23 loft units within Punggol Sapphire.
The sale is the first ever million-dollar resale transaction in Punggol, which is certainly incredible given how young Punggol is as an estate and that it’s situated further away from the center of Singapore. With that being said, it’s not the most expensive loft unit ever sold.
Perhaps a testament to its popularity amongst Singaporeans, the most expensive HDB resale flat was ever sold is in fact, an HDB loft unit. Just to rejig your memory, the unit we’re talking about is a 122sqm (1,313sqft) loft unit located at Skyville@Dawson at Queenstown that was sold in July this year, for $1.41M. It’s located somewhere on the 37th-39th floor, and just like its Punggol counterpart, the loft unit is an exclusive pick; out of the 758 total units at Skyville@Dawson, there are only 26 of such loft units available.
Image adapted from: HDB
Otherwise, the next most expensive HDB loft unit was a 5-room loft unit belonging to Treelodge@Punggol that was sold in December last year for an eye-watering $970K. According to the HDB’s Resale Price Checker, the unit was a 149sqm (1,582sqft) unit located on the 16th-18th floor, and had a remaining lease of 89 years and 9 months. The unit is also only one out of 14 of such loft units within the development.
It’s no surprise that loft units – just like the overall property market – have been steadily climbing in prices over the past year or so in the resale market. This is exacerbated by the lack of supply in the market; in the past year or so, less than 10 loft units were transacted in the market.
In the case of this Punggol Sapphire unit, the fact that it was sold at a COV of over $200,000 is telling of the strong demand for such loft units, so much so that people are willing to pay a significant amount over the current perceived market value. Other than Punggol and Queenstown, you can also find loft units in estates such as Bishan and Yishun, and other places where the now-defunct DBSS scheme was launched, such as Toa Payoh.
Why are loft units so coveted in Singapore?
Image credit: @lawrence_d.homey
Of course, there are several reasons as to why loft units are so highly sought after here in Singapore.
For one, they are 2-storey units, which are rare HDB finds. Remember that they’re also very limited in supply and often make up less than 10% of the total units in a certain development – and so that short supply combined with high demand really causes the resale market prices to skyrocket.
In terms of floor space, it may not be the largest as compared to jumbo flats or executive apartments, however HDB loft units are still decently larger than your average HDB BTO, which is a definite plus for many homeowners.
Just like other highly coveted units like maisonettes, you can more or less expect loft units to climb in price in the coming years, in tandem with inflation as well as the overall resale market. With the current frontrunner of Dawson’s $1.41M loft unit, and the seemingly red-hot demand for such units, we’re fairly confident that it won’t be too long before this record is eventually broken with another loft unit in time to come.
Read our other explainers here:
- What to do if you’re under 35 and want to move out?
- HDB COV – all you need to know about it
- Upgrading from an HDB to a condo
Cover image adapted from: @lawrence_d.homey, @li.lium.lj
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