Million-Dollar HDB Resale Flats in 2020: What’s So Special About Them?

1m hdb resale flats

We already knew that Singapore’s public housing programme is a smashing success. But the fact that HDB flats keep getting sold for $1 million and above? That really drives the point home. 

Judging from the figures, the trend only really took off in 2018, the year when 71 flats were sold for $1 million or more. That's over 3.5X of the 17 in 2016. Although the number dipped to 42 in 2018, it rose back to a healthy 64 in 2019.

What about 2020 then? You would think a global pandemic, economic recession, and an islandwide ban on property viewings would dampen our enthusiasm somewhat, no?

But that’s not been the case at all. In the first half of 2020, we’ve seen at least 29 HDB flats sold for $1 million and above, so we’re well on track to matching last year’s numbers. In fact, just earlier in June, a 5-room flat in Clementi made headlines for selling at $1.04 million. The seller was represented by one of our listed agents, Aaron Wan, group district director from Propnex Realty.

 

HDB resale flats that sold for $1M and up in 2020

By looking through the last 6 months’ data on the HDB Resale Flat Prices portal, we’ve compiled a list of $1m and above resale transactions, summarised here:

7

Pinnacle @ Duxton

5R

89 years

$1,030,000 to $1,232,000

5

9B & 10A Boon Tiong Rd

4R & 5R

94 years

$1,008,000 to $1,140,000

4

Natura Loft @ Bishan

5R DBSS

90 years

$1,050,000 to $1,082,000

2

50 Commonwealth Dr

5R

94 years

$1,100,000 to $1,150,000

2

SkyTerrace @ Dawson

5R Premium

95 years

$1,010,000 to $1,038,000

2

148 Mei Ling St

Executive

74 years

$1,000,000 to $1,030,000

2

Clementi Towers

5R

91 years

$1,000,000 to $1,040,000

2

The Peak @ Toa Payoh

5R DBSS

91 years

$1,008,888 to $1,038,000

1

99B Lor 2 Toa Payoh

Executive

72 years

$1,025,000

1

City View @ Boon Keng

5R DBSS

90 years

$1,040,000

1

608 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5

Adjoined

59 years

$1,030,000

 Now let’s take a closer look at some of these hotspots — and find out if your HDB flat has a shot of joining the $1m club too.

Shopping for a HDB resale flat? Check out the top HDB properties for sale on PropertyGuru

 

$1M HDB resale flats in District 2 (The Pinnacle @ Duxton)

No surprises here: The HDB project with the most number of $1m and above resale flats is Pinnacle @ Duxton, the pride and joy of Tanjong Pagar constituency. It consistently attracts a stream of buyers willing to pay top dollar for a rare HDB flat right in the city centre.

Of the 7 million-dollar units sold in 2020 so far, one of them made waves when it changed hands for a record-breaking $1,232,000 in March. That 5-room unit is officially the most expensive resale HDB flat in Singapore.

But what’s even more astounding is that even 4-room flats here can fetch $1m and up. In June, one of 93 sqm apartments was actually sold for $1,186,888, just a little bit shy of $1.2 million.

Browse for the top properties for sale at the Pinnacle @ Duxton

 

$1M HDB resale flats in District 3 (Bukit Merah & Queenstown)

Another high-profile hotspot for $1m flats is the handful of blocks along Boon Tiong Road, in between the hipster part of Tiong Bahru and the MRT station.

Not only do these freshly-MOPed flats have an amazing location, the high floor units also supposedly boast incredible views of the city. This year, even the lower floor 5-room flats — and a couple of 4-room flats — here could command at least $1m. 

District 3, in general, is terribly popular with cash-rich resale flat buyers, who have snapped up at least 6 other $1m units. 

These include 2 new 5-room units next to Commonwealth MRT station, 2 5-room Premium flats at SkyTerrace @ Dawson, and 2 older Executive units (one of them a maisonette) on Mei Ling Street.

The almost-central location, proximity to the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront, and limited HDB flat supply all create the perfect conditions for extremely expensive HDB flats.

 

$1M HDB resale flats in District 12 & 20 (Boon Keng, Toa Payoh & Bishan)

Similar to District 3, the HDB flats in Boon Keng, Toa Payoh and Bishan all boast excellent locations in the city fringes.

However, only the more premium units here seem to command prices in the $1m range. 7 of the 8 units that changed hands for more than $1m in 2020 are 5-room units in luxurious DBSS developments: Natura Loft @ Bishan, The Peak @ Toa Payoh and City View @ Boon Keng

Read more about DBSS flats here: What is a DBSS flat and is it worth buying? [2020 MOP Update]

Although these are technically HDB flats, they were built and sold by private developers. There are only a handful of DBSS projects in Singapore, so it’s not surprising that these “limited edition” flats can fetch a premium.

The remaining unit that sold is also a rare breed — a vast 144 sqm Executive Apartment near Braddell MRT station — which fetched over $1m despite being about 20 years older than the other units.

 

Special cases: $1M HDB resale flats in the heartlands

With the majority of $1m HDB flats located in the central or city fringe area, it’s clear that location is a major contributor to the resale value of a flat. But there have also been a few $1m HDB flats in the heartlands, too.

First, there were a couple of 5-room flats in Clementi that changed hands for $1m and up. Located atop The Clementi Mall, MRT station and bus interchange, the Clementi Towers flats are a rarity indeed. Despite being located a good deal west of the city centre, units here have been sold for over $1m since 2016, when the flats reached their MOP.

Another heartland unicorn is the designer jumbo flat in 608 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, which was sold for $1.03 million in June 2020. Made up of two adjoining 3-room flats, the massive 178 sqm home feels like a landed home.

Not only is this the least-central $1m flat in 2020 so far, it’s also the oldest, with just 59 years left on the lease.

 

Can your HDB flat fetch over $1M too?

From looking at the $1m HDB resale flats in 2020 so far, we now have a pretty good picture of what sort of HDB flat has a good chance of fetching a 7-digit price.

Good location

Centrally-located HDB flats fetch higher prices, as do flats located close to MRT stations. Read about The MRT Effect

Limited supply

The less competition (other HDB flats) in the area, the better your chances. When the surrounding properties are mainly private apartments, a spacious 5-room flat going for $1 million will look like an absolute steal.

Premium flats

High-profile HDB developments like the Natura Loft DBSS and the SkyTerraces@Dawson premium flats can fetch higher prices and they are distinctly more condo-like than regular HDB flats.

5 to 10 years old

As a rule of thumb, most resale flats are at peak resale value when they are fresh from the MOP of 5 years. 

Flat size

A prominent exception to the age rule are the older, bigger Executive Apartments and Maisonettes — HDB does not build them in this size anymore. And as we’ve seen from the Ang Mo Kio jumbo flat, buyers can pay a huge premium for space.

Unblocked views

It’s not a must, but if your home lacks all the other attributes, a high floor with unblocked views of, say, a reservoir, will definitely improve your chances of scoring the big $1m.

 

How to increase your HDB resale value

Even if you do not have a home that ticks all the boxes, the real lesson here is that there are buyers who are willing to pay huge sums for HDB flats! 

But, on the seller’s part, you need to make sure your home really stands out in order to command a premium.

First, create the illusion of space by removing excessive furniture and clutter. You can leave a few things around for a casually lived-in feel, but overall you’ll want your space to look simple and spacious.

Next, pay attention to light. Removing heavy drapes and dark window grilles can make a world of difference, as can a fresh coat of paint to the walls and ceilings. Liven up the space with plants to demonstrate just how much light you can get at home.

Did you know? 
Our biannual Consumer Sentiment Study found that as Singaporeans spend more time at home due to COVID-19 measures, ventilation and lighting have topped the list of features that increased in importance when shopping for a new home during this period.

Read about it here: More Sunlight, Ventilation and Nearby Amenities: How to Pick A Home You Never Want to Leave

Now that you’ve let the light shine in, it’s also time for a deep clean to make everything spick and span for home viewers. You should also do basic repairs, such as filling out holes in the walls with putty.

Pay particular attention to the bathroom and kitchen, which are the two areas that tend to look used and dated quickly. 

Apart from cleaning and decluttering, you may also want to update the more worn-out parts, such as replacing the backsplash and swapping out bathroom hardware for shiny new pieces. You can buy these parts cheaply online and install them yourself.

Finally, don’t forget to take nice, well-lit photos of your home before you list it on PropertyGuru’s marketplace. Good luck!

 

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 Home Finance Advisors at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals. 

 

Read Next

Get expert advice for every question you can think of!

Explore AskGuru and gain exclusive access to thousands of answers from our expert and agent community. 💬⭐👍