SINGAPORE — Only four towns out of Singapore’s 24 Housing and Development Board (HDB) towns and three estates have yet to record a resale transaction crossing S$1 million, but this could change soon, property analysts said.

The four towns are: Jurong West, Choa Chu Kang, Sembawang and Sengkang though most of them are already near or above the S$900,000 mark.

Mr Luqman Hakim, chief data officer at property firm, said that with more HDB resale flats heading towards the million-dollar mark, it is a “question of when, not if” these four remaining towns will also reach that threshold.

To date, the maximum transaction prices for the towns are: Sengkang (S$968,000), Jurong West (S$920,000), Choa Chu Kang (S$900,000), and Sembawang (S$850,000).

“If we look at the current HDB highs, it’s plain to see that since most of them are already in the S$900,000 region, these towns will reach the million-dollar mark soon if HDB resale prices continue their upward trend,” he added.


The latest HDB quarterly figures, released on April 1, revealed a new development.

For the first time, the town with the highest number of million-dollar resale flats was not one of those dominating earlier lists such as Tanjong Pagar, Bishan, Queenstown or Bukit Merah.

Rather, the list was topped by Toa Payoh with 26 such transactions.

While Toa Payoh is a mature estate, like those other big-hitters, property analysts said Toa Payoh’s showing is part of a broader trend that they have seen of million-dollar flats popping up islandwide.

They told TODAY that one reason for buyers’ willingness to pay so much for HDB flats in non-central locations is the size and layout of these units, and the unblocked views they offer.

“Though some of these flats may be 20 years old, they are about 1,300 sq ft which is relatively big, and could still be considered premium apartments or executive flats,” said Ms Christine Sun, chief researcher and strategist at OrangeTee.

Another reason is that more flats have reached their minimum occupation period (MOP) in some of these areas, adding to the supply of resale flats, she added.

Homeowners are able to sell their flats bought from HDB or under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) after five years, while those who own Prime Location Public Housing flats can only list their flats on the open market after 10 years.

Ms Sun also said that a growing number of people are willing to pay more for areas outside of the downtown core area since the prices for new condominiums in suburban areas tend to be higher.

Still, despite their greater prevalence in recent times, million-dollar transactions are still a small minority of the HDB resale market, making up an estimated 2.7 per cent of total deals.


The first quarter flash estimates released by HDB on April 1, covering the period Jan 1 to March 27, showed a record 185 HDB resale flats changed hands for at least S$1 million.

After Toa Payoh, in top spot, with 26 million-dollar resale transactions came Kallang/Whampoa with 22 such sales, then Bukit Merah and Queenstown with 20 each.

Analysts said that most of the million-dollar transactions in Toa Payoh came from fairly new developments such as Toa Payoh Crest and Toa Payoh Apex, both under 10 years old.

Others are from HDB projects considered premium such as The Peak, which is a DBSS project.

DBSS flats were introduced by HDB in 2005 and built by private developers with higher quality built-in furnishing and a bigger layout in each unit. DBSS was phased out in 2011. 

“It was different because it was a mashup between an executive condominium and an HDB flat,” said Mr Heikel Shafrudin, co-founder of Herohomes.

One of these million-dollar resale flats, included in the latest data, was a unit at levels 40 to 42 at The Peak @ Toa Payoh that sold for more than S$1.5 million in January this year.


Even though many of the million-dollar flats in the first quarter were located in prime locations, experts expect HDB flats outside the city centre to feature in greater numbers.

Mr Luqman of said that the volume of million-dollar transactions has been on the rise since 2021 and also includes recent all-time-high transactions for non-mature estates in Punggol, Serangoon and Yishun.

Each of these three towns have hit a resale transaction of S$1.2 million.

“Once a particular HDB development has hit the million-dollar mark, the price will usually become a new yardstick for future resale prices for the development and unlikely to go lower.

“New highs in HDB prices in one development also have spillover effects to other HDB towns and influences future HDB prices as a whole,” said Mr Luqman.

He believes that Clementi, which is not near the central region, is set to be the next up-and-coming estate as there were 15 transactions for HDB resale flats above S$1 million in the town in the first quarter of 2024.

Agreeing with the observation about non-mature estates, Ms Sun of OrangeTee said that she had already seen two units in Bukit Panjang listed as million-dollar flats, even though they are not near the downtown core or city fringe.

Ms Sun feels that Sengkang could soon become another hot estate as there are more units being sold for more than S$900,000. This includes a five-room unit located at 216A Compassvale Drive that went for S$968,000 just last month.

As there are not a lot of build-to-order (BTO) flats in mature HDB towns, Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior director of data analytics at Huttons Asia, also predicts that Sengkang is poised to become another popular estate for resale buyers.

“This is because when relatively new BTO projects reach their MOP, that’s when people will want to buy these flats,” said Mr Lee.

On the other hand, Mr Heikel from Herohomes believes that the emerging popular estates will be where the majority of BTOs would be reaching their five-year MOP mark.

Some examples he cited include Tampines North and Bukit Batok West near Brickland, just on the border of Tengah estate where a unit is currently listed for more than S$800,000.


Mr Lee of Huttons Asia said that the reclassification of BTO flats beginning in October this year to Standard, Plus and Prime could also be something that buyers would consider when deciding between a BTO or a resale flat.

The old classifications of “mature” and “non-mature” estates will cease with the change.

Plus flats will be those in choice locations, while Prime flats will be those under the scheme previously known as Prime Location Public Housing. Regular HDB flats will be known as Standard flats.

“As Plus and Prime will come with resale restrictions, new flats in Toa Payoh are likely to fall under these categories, making existing flats with no restrictions more desirable to buyers,” said Mr Lee.


Leave A Reply

© 2024 The News Singapore. All Rights Reserved.