You can say that owning a loft unit is a loft-y aspiration for most Singaporeans (haha, get it?) because loft units in private properties don’t come cheap. Thankfully, however, there’s actually an affordable alternative: HDB loft units.
Yes, HDB loft units do exist! However, they can be quite expensive compared to typical HDB flats. For example, in March 2021, an HDB loft for sale in Punggol changed hands for $910,000, which is steep compared to regular Punggol flats.
More recently in November 2021, a five-room loft unit in SkyTerrace @ Dawson was sold for $1.328 million, making it the most expensive HDB flat transacted in Queenstown.
Read on to find out what HDB loft units are, whether you can DIY your own HDB loft, and where you can find HDB lofts for sale in Singapore.
What Are HDB Loft Units?
HDB loft units are units that come with two storeys and a high ceiling. The living area is typically much bigger than most HDB units. For those who are familiar with executive maisonettes, HDB loft units are the newer and more ‘evolved’ version of maisonettes.
Maisonettes Vs HDB Loft Units – Are They the Same?
No, they are not.
One of the key differences between the maisonette and HDB loft unit is its layout. When you study the floor plan, you’ll notice the bedrooms for maisonette units are all located on the second floor whereas HDB loft units have rooms on both the first and second floor. The floor area on the second floor is also slightly smaller compared to the first floor.
Another difference is the flat type. You can find HDB loft units in new BTO projects under the 3Gen flat type, whereas maisonette units fall under the HDB executive maisonette flat type.
Finally, another big difference is that HDB maisonettes are no longer in production, so the units available are typically older. Meanwhile, HDB loft units tend to be newer.
Read more here.
Where Can You Find HDB Lofts for Sale in Singapore?
For those who are looking to snap up an HDB loft unit, you might want to look at newer BTO projects. The two notable estates for HDB lofts are Punggol and Queenstown.
Punggol Lofts: Treelodge@Punggol and Punggol Sapphire Loft
There is a small concentration of HDB loft units in Treelodge@Punggol and Punggol Sapphire, about 37 units in total.
For Treelodge@Punggol, there are 14 units of 5-room loft units which also has an open terrace area that owners can choose to convert into a sky garden. The blocks are located at 305A to 305C Punggol Road, 305D Punggol Drive, 306A to 306C Punggol Place.
Down the road is Punggol Sapphire, with 23 units of 5-room loft units available. The blocks for this project are 267A to 267C, 268A to 268D, 269A to 269C, 270A to 270C Punggol Field.
No one seems to be selling loft units but you could periodically check back to see if new listings are available on the PropertyGuru.
Queenstown Lofts: Skyville@Dawson and SkyTerrace@Dawson
You can also find some at the new Queenstown BTO projects like Skyville@Dawson and SkyTerrace@Dawson, which fulfilled the five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) in 2020. They are extremely limited, with only 26 in the estate.
Property agent Lois Ho who brokered the most recent $1.328 million deal shared that there were 15 potential buyers who expressed interest in the flat. Physical viewings for the 122 sq metre unit on the 42nd and 43rd floor took place over the span of just two weeks.
If you plan to try your luck with new BTO launches, note that HDB loft units in new BTO projects are listed under the 3Gen flat type. You can also find HDB lofts for sale on the resale market – but you’ll need to be quick as these HDB lofts get snapped up very quickly.
Interested in buying an HDB loft resale unit? Check out all HDB lofts for sale on PropertyGuru.
How Much Do HDB Lofts for Sale Cost?
Like all ‘special’ HDB flat types, HDB loft units are very popular among homebuyers. Competition for HDB lofts are also especially stiff because supply is scarce – not many units are built. As such, it is no wonder why HDB loft units are priced at a premium.
For example, an HDB loft unit at Punggol Sapphire was sold for $900,000 in August 2020, while a neighbouring HDB loft for sale in the Treelodge@Punggol project fetched $910,000. That’s about 1.5 times the median price for a five-room flat in Punggol, which is $600,000 as of Q3 2021.
The November 2021 SkyTerrace@Dawson loft unit was priced a whopping $233,000 more than the last unit sold (a 5-room loft unit for $1.095m in June 2021). Fun fact: when spoken aloud in Cantonese, the digits for the unit’s selling price ($1.328 million) sounds like the words for, “Easy to prosper throughout life.” Thanks to the pretty penny their home fetched, we’re sure the sellers are feeling this way right now!
Even older HDB loft units can fetch a good price despite their age. In August 2020, the same month as the Punggol Sapphire loft sale, an older HDB loft unit in Sin Ming was sold for $1.02 million. The seller had bought it all the way back in 1997.
A Closer Look at HDB Loft Units (Including Punggol Sapphire Loft)
Curious to know what these HDB loft units actually look like? Here are some photos and details of HDB loft transactions in the news.
Punggol Sapphire Loft
The above photo shows what the inside of a Punggol Sapphire loft looks like. This particular loft unit was sold in August 2020 for $900,000, after having been viewed just once.
With a total floor area of 1,600 sqft, the sizeable Punggol loft unit comes with two bedrooms and a study on the first floor, and a master bedroom upstairs. Located on the top floor of the block, the Punggol Sapphire loft unit also offers unblocked views of the surroundings.
Sin Ming Avenue Loft
Another HDB loft for sale that made the news is the one in Sin Ming Avenue. It comes with a unique layout of a 6m to 7m ceiling height, slanted roof and a second floor. The total floor area of the HDB loft unit is 2,012 sq ft.
Besides its size and unique layout, the HDB loft unit in Sin Ming Avenue had all the makings of a million-dollar HDB:
- Mature estate
- Unblocked view of greenery
- Pocket view of Upper Peirce Reservoir
- City fringe location
- Proximity to the upcoming Bright Hill MRT Station on the Cross-Island Line and Thomson-East Coast Line
- Nearby to amenities like malls, eateries and schools
Is Building Your Own HDB Loft Illegal?
Given the rarity of an HDB loft unit, it may be challenging to snap up an HDB loft unit. But when there’s a will, there’s a way, right?
If you’re having thoughts of ‘creating’ your own HDB loft with a mini mezzanine in your existing HDB apartment, hold up. Before you tell everyone that you have outsmarted the authorities, make sure you have a clear understanding of the regulations first.
Mezzanine Floor in Your HDB Flat: Illegal!
For HDB flats, it is illegal to build a mezzanine floor in your home. There are two reasons why it’s not permitted by the authorities.
Firstly, the HDB building is not designed to handle the additional load capacity from the mezzanine floor. The extra weight is a safety hazard as it can cause the HDB building structure to collapse. Secondly, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) considers mezzanine floors as a building feature that adds additional floor space and intensity of development. This illegally increases the Gross Floor Area (GFA) of the building, which is not approved by URA.
Mezzanine Floor in Private Properties: Legal, But Permission Required
For private properties, it is possible to install a mezzanine floor in your apartment as long as you fulfil a few criteria. Firstly, you need to have a high ceiling that allows the installation of a mezzanine floor. Next, you need to get approvals from both URA and Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to certify that the mezzanine floor is legal and safe.
Lastly, you need to submit documents to the Fire Safety and Shelter Bureau (SCDF-FSSB) to comply with the fire code. Compliance requires you to have safety mechanisms like sprinklers installed on your new mezzanine floor.
If you are caught by the authorities for having an illegal loft, you may be slapped with a $5,000 fine, plus the cost of tearing down the mezzanine.
We say it’s much easier to search for loft units directly on PropertyGuru. We’ve even found some gorgeous HDB lofts for sale for less than $1 million at the time of writing.
Can’t seem to find an HDB loft unit to your liking? Consider one of these condominium loft units or check out other discontinued HDB flat types that are being sold on the resale market instead.
For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.
Looking for a new home? Head to PropertyGuru to browse the top properties for sale in Singapore.
Need help financing your latest property purchase? Let the mortgage experts at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals.
Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. PropertyGuru Pte Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.