If you’ve been following property news recently, you might be familiar with how 2022 has seen quite a number of resale HDB flats being transacted for over a million dollars – from both mature and non-mature estates.
Skyrocketing property prices might not come as a surprise to some, given how the overall market is going through a relatively high inflationary period right now. And yes, it seems that the elusive million-dollar mark for HDBs is not as elusive anymore.
Well, we’re only just about halfway through 2022 so far, and yet we’ve just hit another milestone in the property market. Just this month, a resale unit was transacted for $1.418M, making it the most expensive resale flat so far.
Here’s what we know about the most expensive resale HDB unit in history.
Image credit: Jayne Lim
The flat in question is located at SkyTerrace@Dawson, which sits along Dawson Road at Queenstown. Naturally, its location more or less speaks for its high valuation, and Queenstown is definitely one of the most popular districts amongst Singaporeans and foreigners.
Property geeks may know that Queenstown is located within District 3 of the Rest of Central Region (RCR), meaning that it does attract a fair amount of interested buyers looking for potential opportunities to secure a modest profit.
The estate also has a rich historical heritage. For instance, did you know that Queenstown – named after Queen Elizabeth II to mark her coronation – played host to many ‘firsts’ in the development of Singapore?
Shortly after the HDB took over the development of Queenstown from the British, it was where the first HDB flats, first public library, first polyclinic and first sports complex were built in Singapore. This makes it somewhat of the OG of public housing here on our sunny island.
View from the neighbouring Skyville@Dawson.
Image credit: Architizer
When it comes to choosing a home, being on a high floor is certainly a plus; in this case, the unit is located between the 37th and 39th floor, which will guarantee you an enjoyable breeze sweeping through the home while you soak in a panoramic view of the whole of Singapore.
Floor plan for 5-room loft apartment.
Image credit: Dawsonites
The unit spans across 122sqm (1,313sqft), which is a decent floor area that’s just larger than the typical 5-room BTOs being built today, but pales in comparison to the likes of those recently-sold jumbo units in Pasir Ris (2,034sqft) and Yishun (1,980sqft). From the floor plan of the unit, you’ll notice that while the approximate floor area is listed at 122sqm, its internal floor area is only 103sqm.
This is because the flat is a Premium Loft Apartment, meaning that it is actually 2 floors, and the void space over the high ceiling is actually calculated as part of the overall 122sqm floor area. But more on that later!
Image adapted from: HDB
Another interesting thing you might notice is that the unit is quite young. Considering that its lease commenced in 2016, it means that the unit just passed its Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of 5 years. And so, buyers would presumably be attracted to such units – they are after all as good as new.
Comparing with neighbouring sales
Taking a look at the recent 5-room and equivalent sales transactions in 2022 around the vicinity of Dawson Road, you’ll find that there have been a handful of transactions that have similarly just crossed their MOP.
Image adapted from: HDB
All of them are premium apartments on varying floors, though they are smaller than the $1.41M unit we’re talking about.
Why the high price?
With all that said, what makes this $1.41M so valuable to justify it being the most expensive HDB resale unit of all time?
Location of estate
Image adapted from: Google Maps
For one, SkyTerrace@Dawson is situated at an extremely convenient location. Connectivity wise, it’s about a 10-minute walk to either Queenstown or Redhill MRT stations, and there are plenty of transport options to connect you to other parts of Singapore.
It’s also a short drive away from popular hangout places like Holland Village and Orchard, perfect for those looking for great dining spots or a bit of retail therapy after work or on the weekends.
Within the Queenstown estate, it’s considered a mature town, and so there are a good amount of amenities in and around the vicinity that have been developed over the years. You have your usual supermarkets, F&B outlets and retail shops peppered around the estate, making it a great place for families with varying needs.
In addition, schools such as Queenstown Secondary School, Crescent Girls Secondary School and Queenstown Primary School are all easily accessible and nearby.
Uniqueness of unit type
Another contributing factor to its high price is the fact that the $1.41M unit is classed as a Premium Loft Apartment.
Example of how a HDB loft apartment typically looks like.
Image credit: Superhome Design
HDB loft apartments are just like your typical HDB flat, with the only difference being that they come with two floors – which is quite rare for public housing – and a high ceiling, which means that they would tend to be located on the higher floors. They are kinda similar to maisonettes, save for a few differences like how bedrooms for maisonettes are only found on the second floor whereas loft bedrooms can be on both floors.
The good news is that unlike maisonettes, HDB still produces loft units, though of course there would only be a small quantity of such units in any given new development, and not every new development will offer loft units.
To give you a sense of the proportion of loft units vis-à-vis the entire development, SkyTerrace@Dawson has a total of 758 units, of which only 26 of them are loft units. And so while loft apartments are still in production today, their short supply also correlates with a high demand, resulting in considerably higher prices.
Inflationary environment of property market
If you’ve been keeping track of news from the property market in the last few months, it may not come as a surprise that we’re all living in an highly inflationary environment right now, not just in the general ‘cost-of-living’ type of scenario but also in terms of property prices.
Since 2020, prices across the board have all generally been on an uphill climb, despite external pressures like additional cooling measures imposed by the government, record-high inflation setting in, and a looming recession just beyond the horizon. While the pace of growth has somewhat slowed down, we can probably expect property prices to continue soldiering on upwards.
In addition, while we’ve previously held onto the notion that the million-dollar mark was an exclusive price point that not many HDBs can meet, it seems that we can now well and truly dispel that. According to reports, June 2022 saw 31 HDB units being sold for over one million dollars, up from the 30 units in May 2022.
Most expensive resale HDB transacted so far
One of the many surprising things about 2022 is definitely the relatively high and growing number of million-dollar resale HDB transactions in just this year alone. This exclusive club is growing in number, plus it’s also crowned its newest leader, with a loft unit in Queenstown being sold for $1.41M.
How long will it be before this record is overtaken by a new contender? Our guess is that it won’t be too long, given how many of the newer developments around popular estates like Queenstown would have just crossed their MOP and so would be hitting the market fairly soon.
From what we’ve written about the topic so far, it seems that whether or not a HDB manages to join this million-dollar club is dependent on a combination of factors such as its location and size. Hopefully we’ll be able to see some relief in property prices soon, else it’ll only mean that it’ll take just that bit longer for us to finally be able to afford a home.
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