Thursday, February 21, 2013

More resale flats sold at close to $1 million mark

New record for HDB resale flats
The Straits Times - February 21, 2013

A NEW record has been set for Housing Board resale flats, with a 1,750 sq ft executive maisonette in Bishan changing hands for $1.01 million last month. It broke the previous record of $1 million, set by a 1,615 sq ft executive apartment in Queenstown last year.

Fresh data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), which collects transaction information from larger property firms, also revealed that such sky-high prices are not one-offs.

While only one resale flat transaction breached the $900,000 mark in 2011, there were 18 last year. This year, even before two months have gone, the number has already reached 18.

Property analysts said these flats, mostly in established estates, are still value for money on a per sq ft (psf) basis when compared to private homes.

They expect resale records to be broken when choice units like those at the Pinnacle@Duxton hit the market in the next two years.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said the $1.01 million Bishan unit is about 100 sq ft bigger than other executive units, including the previous record holder in Queenstown.

"Such flats are rare, offer a large space and provide a better value proposition than condominiums around it," he added.

The price of the 26-year-old unit on the upper floors of Block 194 in Bishan Street 13 is about $580 psf. A private property in the same area could cost between $1,200 and $1,600 psf.

Property consultant Chris Koh believes the unit may have special features such as an open roof terrace. "The buyer could be a cash-rich, private property downgrader and the cash premium paid is likely to be close to $200,000."

According to the SRX, the overall median cash paid above a flat's valuation is now about $34,000.

Mr Ismail noted that relatively new flats are also commanding high prices. Among the 18 transactions above $900,000 this year is a five-year-old, 1,180 sq ft, five-room flat in Jalan Membina.

The $925,000 price tag works out to be about $780 psf.

"Although this sounds high, a flat in Jalan Membina is near Tiong Bahru MRT station and town. A private apartment could cost as much as $1,800 psf," he added.

Most home buyers said they would not pay that much for public housing. Said accountant Mohan Singh, 29: "It's still an HDB flat with no facilities at the end of the day. I feel buyers should go for affordable new flats or save up for a choice private property."

In response to the surging property market, the Government has pledged to offer at least 23,000 new flats this year, with National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan promising to keep new flats affordable by unpegging their prices from resale flats.

In the latest Build-To-Order launch last month, prices ranged from $140,000 for a three-room unit in Chua Chu Kang to $575,000 for a five-room unit in Ang Mo Kio.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

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