Toa Payoh is one example of a “model” mature estate. The multitude of hawker food, charming old-school playgrounds, and proximity to the heart of town has made living in Singapore’s second-largest satellite town much more desirable over the past few years.
Case in point: 19 resale HDB flats in the neighbourhood were sold for more than $1M in the last 6 months from Dec 2021-May 2022. And in June, an additional 2 more of such sales were made.
While this piece of news won’t surprise anyone who has been following property news, it’s a clear indication that house hunters are looking toward estates like Toa Payoh with a booming resale market.
Rising real estate prices in mature estates like Toa Payoh
It all started in July 2017 when two 5-room flats at The Peak @ Toa Payoh were sold for $1.12M and $1.01M respectively on the resale market. The record-breaking event kicked off a ripple effect, with many other similar flats in the mature estate fetching 7-figure prices too.
Over at Toa Payoh Lorong 2 and down by Toa Payoh Central Block 79C, some 5-room flats also sold on the market for over $1M. Compared to The Peak which was completed in 2012, these developments are slightly older, making their ability to command a hefty price tag nonetheless a good sign for sellers.
There are myriad reasons why these units were priced and sold as such. From lengthy leases remaining to the larger square footage and the convenience afforded by the location, resale flats in Toa Payoh have all these benefits to justify their over-$1M listing.
HDB flats in the Central area command the highest asking price, while Queenstown, Bishan, and Toa Payoh are not far behind.
Compared to many other mature estates in Singapore, properties in Toa Payoh are still selling for a relatively high price, with the average 5-room flat going for $864,225 in Q1 2022. Meanwhile, Pasir Ris has one of the highest volumes of 5-room flats sold (69) for the lowest average price of $609,507 in the same period.
Part of why the average house price in Toa Payoh is so high is because there were plenty of sales exceeding the $1M price point. Based upon the data collected from HDB’s Resale Price Checker, there were 11 5-room flats sold for above $1M in 1Q2022. Zooming out, we saw that there were 20 flats sold above $1M from end-December 2021 to June 2022.
But when we zoom back in, we realised that of the 20 flats sold in the past 6 months, 14 of them were from The Peak @ Toa Payoh, one of the most popular Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) developments ever launched by HDB.
What is so special about DBSS developments like The Peak?
The Peak @ Toa Payoh.
Image credit: JPG Group
HDB introduced the Design, Build and Sell Scheme back in 2005. The main difference between that and other HDB projects is that while DBSS is considered public housing, it is developed by private developers, which means supposedly better designs and a premium price. There was also only a Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of 5 years.
Unfortunately, the high price point commanded caused an uproar as they were deemed unaffordable by middle-class Singaporeans who the DBSS flats were meant for. The scheme was scrapped in 2011 after 13 DBSS projects were successfully launched, including The Peak @ Toa Payoh.
An example of how spacious the interior is at The Peak @ Toa Payoh.
Image credit: Icon Interior
What makes these flats so desirable, apart from their design, is that they’re located in neighbourhoods that are already urbanised with plenty of facilities. Take Toa Payoh for example. Residents at The Peak have access to 3 MRT stations at Toa Payoh, Braddell, and Caldecott. The address also means residents can get to food courts and shopping malls on foot.
It also helps that majority of the units in The Peak are 5-room flats that start at 1,184sqft to 1,259sqft, making it ideal for families with multiple children. Each block is also gated, requiring keycard access just to enter the lift lobby, a feature that only a select few DBSS developments offer.
The high sale price of a 5-room flat in a DBSS project like The Peak is not news. In fact, the property saw its first $1M sale just 2 months after its MOP of 5 years was met back in May 2017. What is interesting is the frequency of similar flats being sold on the market.
An increasing number of HDB flats sold for above $1M
Looking at the data available from the HDB Resale Checker and Data.gov.sg, we found that there has been an increasing number of HDB flats – including Executive Maisonettes – sold for above $1M in recent years. In Toa Payoh alone, there were 7 of such flats sold in 2020, 31 in 2021, and 21 in just the first half of 2022. If this trend continues, we would expect to see at least 40 flats sold for above $1M by the year’s end.
The average cost of a >$1M flat in Toa Payoh from 2017.
It’s not just the frequency that’s going up. The average price of one of these >$1M flats in Toa Payoh has also increased year on year. While the average price of a >$1M flat was $1.043M in 2017, this has since increased to $1.101M in 2022.
Plenty of these sales can be credited to the success of The Peak, with one high-floor unit at The Peak even selling for $1.28M, coming close to the record-breaking sale at Pinnacle@Duxton. Other locations in Toa Payoh have also seen their prices reach a peak.
A quick glance over at some property sites also shows that there are many other HDB flats for sale for more than 7 figures; at least 30 of such listings were listed on one platform. Some of them aren’t even 5-room flats, so those shopping for a new house might have the opportunity to bring the price down.
Will public housing prices in mature estates continue to rise?
No one’s 100% certain about how the real estate market will perform, although plenty of signs point to steadily rising prices, especially within the resale market in mature estates.
Back in May 2022, a 5-room flat in Bukit Merah changed hands for a record-breaking $1.4M. The flat still had 96 years remaining on its lease, which might have factored into why it commanded such a high listing price. Over in Bishan, 2 units at another DBSS development Natura Loft were sold on the market for $1.33M and $1.31M.
Image credit: HDB
Even HDB themselves have predicted that the prices of resale flats are set to rise in 2022.
However, a lot of the demand in the past few months might have been due to buyers wanting to lock in favourable mortgage rates before it inevitably increases. And with the property market stabilising after cooling measures were introduced at the end of 2021 coupled with a return to the office, the uptick of prices in the resale market might not last for that much longer.
Either way, it’s clear that Toa Payoh is swiftly becoming one of the most sought-after mature estates that can soon rival Bishan.
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Cover image: JPG Group, The Smart Local