Pinnacle @ Duxton is perhaps the most talked-about HDB project of all time, but does it really live up to the hype? If we’ve piqued your interest, read on.
You may have thought that amid the COVID-19 crisis, property prices would drop… but no, it’s been the exact opposite, thanks to pent-up demand and other factors.
In fact, did you know that as of 31 October 2021, a record-breaking 192 HDB flats were sold for at least $1 million this year? Among these prime district flats are, of course, the famous units at Pinnacle @ Duxton, which broke the million-dollar mark way back in 2015, shortly after the development reached its Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP).
How Much Do Pinnacle @ Duxton HDB Flats Cost?
A quick check on Pinnacle @ Duxton units for sale on PropertyGuru yields over 50 results, of which the lowest is priced at close to $900k (4-room, unfurnished), and the most expensive is an eye-popping $1.35 million, a 5A-room unit on a high floor.
Looking at the HDB database, a total of 29 4-room flats and 27 5-room flats at Pinnacle@Duxton were sold at $1 million and above from Jan to Oct 2021. That’s a total of 56 units out of 192 transactions, or about a third of all million-dollar HDB flat transactions that happened this year so far.
This phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by the Government, which is clearly worried that these sky-high prices will lead to gentrification, such that only the wealthy can afford to live in centrally-located HDB flats.
These concerns have led to HDB’s new Prime Location Housing (PLH) Model, which imposes tighter restrictions to dampen the investment returns of upcoming HDB flats in central locations, such as the upcoming Rochor BTO flats.
Notably, though, these new rules do not apply to The Pinnacle @ Duxton. You can breathe a sigh of relief now.
So, what makes the flats at this particular HDB development so “hot” and expensive? Are these units really worth over $1 million Singapore dollars? We look at the various reasons and compare this development to nearby HDB flats and condominiums to find out.
Pinnacle @ Duxton HDB Flats: 7 Reasons Why They Fetch Over $1M
There must be something special about the units at Pinnacle @ Duxton if people are willing to shell out over a million bucks for an HDB flat. After all, it’s the HDB project with the greatest number of $1M and above resale flats… Ah, the pride and joy of Tanjong Pagar constituency.
Here are some reasons why we think someone with a healthy bank account (or CPF balance) would want to plonk down a million dollars just to snag a unit here:
1. Pinnacle @ Duxton Is in the CBD & CCR
It’s all about location. Tanjong Pagar is right smack in the busy central business district, alongside all the swanky offices and banks. Not to mention, it’s also part of the core central region of Singapore, which means residential and commercial rents are up, even if staffers in the area don’t have the salary to match.
The assumption is, if you can afford to work/live in the area, you’re probably able to afford whatever’s there as well – from daily $10 lunches to costlier parking, and expensive workwear to higher property prices.
In addition, this is an area where room rents can go as high as $2,800 a month (master bedroom with attached bathroom), and the lease for an entire apartment can hit $40k/month (private penthouse duplex with 4 rooms, private lift and private jacuzzi).
With all these factors in mind, you can just imagine the demand for a rare HDB property in this area.
2. The Views from Pinnacle @ Duxton Are Amazing
Ever wonder why HDB units get more expensive with every storey? For anyone without a fear of heights, it’s because of how the view gets better the higher you are.
For example, the HDB flats at Boon Tiong Road command unblocked views of the Tiong Bahru area, up to 40 storeys high. And these flats easily fetch over $1M, even if it’s just for a 4-room flat. There’s also City View at Boon Keng, which has seven listings for sale over $1M on PropertyGuru, and the similar-sounding 40-storey City Vue at Henderson — which only reaches MOP in 2023 — that boasts a panorama of both Sentosa and the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront.
In any case, Pinnacle @ Duxton wins with its 50-storey height. The development also features two gorgeous sky gardens that are each a whopping 500m long. It’s even open to the public, but there’s an admission charge if you’re not a resident and want to visit.
3. Pinnacle @ Duxton Is Award-winning (and Record-breaking)
These days, HDB flats are clinching major design awards, and the Pinnacle @ Duxton is one of them trendsetters.
In 2010, it won the Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which is a US-based international authority on tall buildings and urban design. It also snagged the President’s Design Award – Design Of The Year. It also won the 2011 Urban Land Institute’s Global Awards for Excellence. Later in 2019, it again was lauded for long-term and extraordinary contributions to the urban environment by the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, where it got the top spot in the 10-year category.
The buildings’ design, a collaborative effort by ARC Studio Architecture + Urbanism and RSP Architects Planners and Engineers, was also a world first. Previously, there weren’t any 50-storey public housing projects comprising two sky bridges that linked seven towers. In addition, the idea was chosen out of a pool of over 200 designs through a 2001 International Architectural Design Competition, organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Earlier we mentioned the 500m sky gardens. Located on the 26th and 50th floor of the building, these are also the longest sky gardens in the world and feature jogging tracks, playgrounds and viewing/rest areas.
4. Pinnacle @ Duxton Is Part of Singapore’s History
Firstly, Pinnacle @ Duxton is built on a 2.5ha site where one of the oldest public estates in Singapore originally stood. This was where the first two blocks of public housing in Tanjong Pagar were.
There’s also a viewing gallery on the 52nd storey, which caters for VIP state visitors and special events. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong utilised this area on 8 Aug 2010 to deliver his annual National Day message.
Pinnacle @ Duxton has also been covered extensively in international media.
5. Pinnacle @ Duxton Is One of a Kind
It’s obvious that Pinnacle @ Duxton isn’t your run of the mill HDB flat. As HDB’s one-off special residential development, Pinnacle @ Duxton units were more fully furnished than typical HDB flats and featured design elements that could rival that of many private developments.
Even the more expensive fully precast methods were used during construction, which could be 10% to 15% pricier than the usual pumping of wet concrete to the top.
6. Pinnacle @ Duxton’s ‘Starting Prices’ Were Also High
Launched in May 2004, the starting prices of the units at Pinnacle @ Duxton were pricey, much more than a typical HDB BTO, especially at that time.
Smaller flats measuring 93 to 97 sqm (about 4-room) were priced from $289,200 to $380,900, while bigger ones measuring 105 to 108 sqm (about 5-room) were priced between $345,100 and $439,400. The remaining 111 units were relaunched in September 2008, with higher prices of $545,000 to $645,800.
For comparison’s sake, the most expensive HDB BTO flats today start from about $500,000 (for a 4-room flat in the Kallang/Whampoa district, August 2021 BTO launch). This is still quite comparable to Pinnacle @ Duxton’s original prices, even almost two decades later!
Naturally, the occupants would want to buy high and sell high(er) to turn a tidy profit, right?
7. The New PLH Model Does Not Apply to Pinnacle @ Duxton
We mentioned earlier that HDB’s new Prime Location Housing (PLH) Model imposes additional restrictions on buying and selling flats in central, prime locations – which describes Pinnacle @ Duxton to a T.
The Prime Location Housing (PLH) Model restrictions have minimal impact on genuine owner-occupiers, but they will discourage property ‘flippers’ from treating such HDB flats as pure investments.
However, the new PLH rules only apply to upcoming HDB flats only and do not apply retroactively to existing flats such as Pinnacle @ Duxton!
What HDB Flats and Condos Are Near Pinnacle @ Duxton?
A large part of Pinnacle @ Duxton’s appeal is its prime location in the CBD. But is Pinnacle @ Duxton really the only ‘unicorn’ in Tanjong Pagar? Or is it just the most famous one?
Let’s take a closer look at the various HDB clusters and condos nearby to suss out if it’s really worth getting a much sought-after unit at Pinnacle @ Duxton.
Pinnacle @ Duxton vs HDB Flats in the Area
It’s a bit of an ‘apples versus oranges’ comparison because half of the HDB flats near Pinnacle @ Duxton were built in the 1970s/1980s. The prices and psf values seem to trend according to age, with Pinnacle @ Duxton leading the pack as it’s the most recent HDB project in the area.
Nevertheless, the million-dollar effect may have had an effect on some of the older HDB flats, as some of their listings are pushing $1 million too.
Pinnacle @ Duxton Vs Private Properties in the Area
Earlier we mentioned that some consider Pinnacle @ Duxton’s design and quality good enough to rival even private condos. If Pinnacle @ Duxton could be considered condominium level, it’s definitely value for money when looking at its price and psf value versus the other private properties in the area.
One thing Pinnacle @ Duxton may lose out on as compared to its condo counterparts are the amenities (although there are plenty at Pinnacle), tighter building security, and maybe height (Skysuites @ Anson towers at 71 storeys). But all of this is moot, considering the expansive views you’ll get at the sky garden, the amenities of the area, the never-ending food options, and if you work in the CBD, it’s yet another bonus.
Keen to Live, Work and Play in the Tanjong Pagar Area?
Check out our listings of properties for sale near Tanjong Pagar MRT station. There’s plenty to discover in Tanjong Pagar, which has a good mix of old and new street charm.
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This article was written by Mary Wu, who hopes to share what she’s learnt from her home-buying and renovation journey with PropertyGuru readers. When she’s not writing, she’s usually baking up a storm or checking out a new cafe in town.
Images by respective owners via Instagram. Featured image by Dimitris Argyris via Flickr.