In an age where HDB flats are shrinking in size, the rarity and spaciousness of jumbo HDB flats make them highly desired among the population.
Today, we're going to take a look at how these flats came about and why owning a jumbo HDB flat can make those around you envious.
Interesting fact: President Halimah Yacob has been noted as one of the most prominent figures to live in a jumbo HDB flat, and her fondness of her former Yishun jumbo HDB flat is well-documented.
What are jumbo HDB flats?
A long, long, time ago (or in the 1990s to be exact), there was an oversupply of HDB flats in Yishun and Woodlands.
At that time, these estates were not blessed with nearby conveniences and amenities, which meant that people had to travel a bit further if they wanted to shop for groceries or catch a movie. Needless to say, HDB had trouble selling these HDB flats.
To entice Singaporeans to purchase these public housing in remote estates and to deal with a large number of unsold units, HDB merged many of the HDB units into one, which effectively gave birth to jumbo HDB flats. HDB later launched such homes for sale in mature estates such as Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Bedok, Hougang, Jurong East, Pasir Ris and Tampines.
Jumbo HDB flats typically measure from 1,442 sq ft to over 2,000 sq ft as they’re a combination of two 3-room and 4-room flats. Consequently, they contain at least seven rooms with huge living spaces (at least compared to HDB sizes), and some jumbo HDB flats have balconies.
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Why are Jumbo HDB flats so sought-after?
#1. A good balance between price and space
Everyone knows that Singapore homes are becoming smaller but more expensive. If you have an extended family then you probably value the space that HDB jumbo flats provide. This 1,400 sq ft jumbo HDB flat in Jurong West has six bedrooms and four bathrooms, and only cost $430,000. You won't get anything close to that size and price in the private property market, or even an executive condo (EC) for that matter.
Whilst you can always buy a 5-room and executive flat within that price range, it’s unlikely to be as roomy as jumbo HDB flats.
Moreover, remember that jumbo HDB flats are considered as HDB properties, so you can get a maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 90%.
#2. Jumbo HDB flats are perfect for multi-generational households
Large families, especially those that include grandparents and in-laws, can hardly fit in a typical HDB flat. But with a jumbo HDB flat, your extended family can live happily and comfortably under one roof. In addition, each of you can share the cost of purchasing the flat, which makes the financial commitment more manageable.
#3. High demand, low supply and good investment opportunity
With an estimated 485 jumbo HDB flat units in Woodlands and Yishun, these flats are extremely rare. The government is also unlikely to construct more of these throughout Singapore in the future.
Due to their scarcity, the capital values of jumbo HDB flats are somewhat resilient to downtrends, and are anticipated to see growth in the long term. Moreover, when such units become available in the market, they’re often quickly snapped up. If you have a jumbo HDB flat that's well-maintained, they can fetch a high price as there will always be an eager pool of interested buyers.
Last but not least, jumbo HDB flats are potentially good for rental income. You can build a partition wall between both units and rent them out as a complete unit instead of renting out the bedrooms. This way, not only will you get better monthly rental yields, but you'll also get your own privacy.
#4. Ample space for various designs
As jumbo HDB flats are capacious, it gives homeowners sufficient room to experiment with various designs ideas, which are usually difficult to implement in cramped HDB units.
Can you 'make' your own jumbo HDB flat?
Yes, there's a scheme for resale flats called Conversion Scheme. Through this initiative, you can apply to combine two adjacent units (3-room or smaller unit) into one. However, you'll need to contact HDB to access whether if it's possible and engage a renovation contractor from the Directory of Renovation Contractors to properly convert the units. Read more about this scheme on the HDB site.
The Conversion scheme provides a convenient way for second-timers to get a more spacious flat, without having to face the troubles associated with moving into another HDB unit.
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