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Rise of the 4-room Million-dollar HDB Flats in Singapore: Where Are They Found?

Joanne Poh
Rise of the 4-room Million-dollar HDB Flats in Singapore: Where Are They Found?
It’s no secret that HDB resale flats in desirable mature estates can be sold for over a million dollars. In fact, million-dollar HDB transactions have become more frequent that people no longer bat an eyelid, especially when it comes to 5-room or larger HDB flats in such estates.
2022 is not even over yet, but already the number of million-dollar HDB flat transactions has surpassed that of 2021. As of 3 October 2022, 277 million-dollar HDB resale flats were sold, versus 259 in 2021. In September 2022, a record 45 units were sold for at least a million dollars. We’re also seeing more seven-figure transactions occurring in non-mature estates. Woodlands, Tampines, Pasir Ris, and Bukit Batok are some HDB towns that have recently joined the million-dollar club.
Increasingly, 4-room flats are being sold for over a million. And with the announcement of the Sept 2022 property cooling measures, there has been talk that prices for 4-room and smaller resale flats will grow even more quickly, so much so that HDB is keeping a close eye on the prices of 4-room and smaller flats.
Can we expect to see more million-dollar 4-room HDB resale flats? Where are they located in the first place and which estates are likely to see more of such transactions? Read on to find out.

Where Are the 4-room HDB Million-Dollar Flats Located?

The first million-dollar 4-room HDB flat was sold in June 2018. It was a 1,033-sqft Type S1 flat at Pinnacle@Duxton, and changed hands for $1,028,000.
According to official data from data.gov.sg, as of 3 Oct 2022, there have been 25 4-room flats transacted for over $1 million in 2022 alone.
Here are the areas in which 4-room flats have been transacted for over a million dollars this year.
HDB estateNumber of million-dollar 4-room flats transacted in 2022 (as of 3 Oct 2022)
Central18
Queenstown3
Bukit Merah1
Bishan1
Toa Payoh1
Kallang/Whampoa1
All of the million-dollar 4-room HDB flat transactions took place in mature estates in the prime areas or on the city fringe, once again illustrating that location is king.
By contrast, when it comes to transactions for 5-room and larger flat types over a million dollars, buyers have sometimes been willing to go for flats in non-mature estates in order to secure a more spacious home, such as in the case of jumbo flats or executive maisonettes.
However, in the case of million-dollar 4-room flats, buyers are willing to pay these price premiums and high Cash over Valuation (COV) amounts precisely for the close proximity to the city centre.
Aside from being in a desirable location, what do these 4-room million-dollar flats have in common? They are a 10-minute walk from the nearest MRT station(s).
Also, they are newer flats built in the 2010s and later, with buyers being highly sensitive to the remaining years left on the lease as compared to traditional picks for million-dollar flats. This could mean the buyers are looking at these 4-room flats for their investment potential; having a larger living space becomes less of a priority.

Breakdown of 4-room HDB Flats Trending Towards $1 Million

To better understand the emerging trend of million-dollar 4-room HDB flat transactions, we had a look at 4-room HDB flat transactions worth $850,000 to just under $1 million. Like in our article where we check out which HDB estates have flats trending towards a million dollars, a look at the data will hint at where we can expect to see such transactions.
HDB estateNumber 4-room flats transacted from 1 Jan 2022 to 3 Oct 2022 for between $850,000 to under $1,000,000
Ang Mo Kio31
Bishan4
Bukit Merah57
Central Area14
Clementi26
Kallang/Whampoa119
Queenstown96
Toa Payoh49
Based on the data, the areas which saw 4-room HDB resale flats transactions between $850,000 and just under $1,000,000 were the same as those which saw million-dollar transactions. Ang Mo Kio and Clementi have a good number of flats transacting in this range too.
What stands out most is the high number of flats located in Kallang/Whampoa and Queenstown which were sold in this range – 119 and 96 respectively. This indicates great potential for a higher volume of 4-room million-dollar flat transactions in the area moving forward.

Will We See More Million-dollar 4-room HDB Flats in 2022 and Beyond?

The government implemented new cooling measures in September 2022, hot on the heels of a previous raft of measures which took effect in December 2021.
The effects of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) being 55%, combined with the 0.50% increase in floor rate and still-rising interest rates may mean even more buyers are being priced out of the private property market. In turn, they may seek out HDB resale flats.
Plus, with the new 15-month wait-out period for private property ‘downgraders’ in place and the exemption for seniors aged 55 above ‘rightsizing’ into a 4-room or smaller flat, there could have an unintended side effect of pushing up prices for 4-room resale flats.
So yes, we may see even more million-dollar 4-room HDB flats in future, but only in select neighbourhoods. Dr. Tan Tee Khoon, Country Manager, PropertyGuru Singapore, reaffirms this.
Those who buy 4-room HDB resale flats at a price premium are likely to be pickier than those who go for ‘traditional’ million-dollar flats. Location, surrounding amenities and conveniences, and remaining lease take greater precedence over property size, which explains why most of the million-dollar 4-room flats are clustered around the Central and Queenstown areas.
"These areas are mature estates that have distinct and strong location attributes not always found in other precincts. Demand may remain resilient for these sought-after areas, despite the recent round of cooling measures."
"Prices for 4-room flats in non-mature estates or areas further from the city centre may stagnate or see modest price growths. Given that the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) of 30% now takes into consideration an adjusted 3% floor interest rate, buyers are less likely to stretch their purse strings."
However, it’s still important to note that million-dollar HDB flat transactions are not the norm. They make up less than 1.5% of overall HDB flat transactions and the Singapore government is keeping a close eye on the prices of resale flats.
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More FAQs About Million-dollar HDB Flats

In 2022, million-dollar 4-room HDB flats were transacted in the central area, Queenstown, Bukit Merah, Bishan, Toa Payoh and Kallang/Whampoa.

As of 3 Oct 2022, 277 HDB resale flats have been sold for over a million dollars in 2022.

259 HDB resale flats have been sold for over a million dollars in 2021.

Yes, resale flats have been sold for over a million dollars in non-mature estates like Punggol and Hougang, Bukit Batok, Woodlands and Yishun.

Being located in a mature estate in the city fringe or prime areas, a rare and/or larger flat type, a new unit with long remaining lease, situated on a high floor with unblocked views can raise the selling price of a resale flat.