Bukit Panjang Sees First Million-dollar HDB Resale Flat, Many Singaporeans Support Longer MOP, and More

25 Sep 2023

19 to 25 September 2023

A 1,367 sq ft HDB executive resale flat in Bukit Panjang changed hands for $1.02 million in September 2023, making it the first HDB resale flat within the estate to breach the million-dollar mark. Meanwhile, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said many Singaporeans supported imposing a longer Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) during the Forward Singapore Housing conversations as they felt that HDB flats should be used primarily for owner-occupation.


1. Bukit Panjang sees first million-dollar HDB flat

A 1,367 sq ft HDB executive resale flat in Bukit Panjang changed hands for $1.02 million in September 2023, making it the first HDB resale flat within the estate to breach the million-dollar mark.

SRI noted that the price works out to $746 per sq ft (PSF).

Nestled between levels 28 and 30 of Block 181 at Jelebu Road, the executive apartment comes with a 99-year leasehold tenure which started in 2003.

Block 181 is near various amenities, including the Hillion Mall, the Bukit Panjang MRT station, and the Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub.

“This enviable accessibility to public transportation and shopping centres makes this particular resale flat an attractive and practical option for those seeking a convenient and comfortable living experience in Bukit Panjang,” said SRI.


2. Most Singaporeans support longer MOP

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee shared in Parliament that many Singaporeans supported imposing a longer MOP during the Forward Singapore Housing conversations as they felt that HDB flats should be used primarily for owner occupation, reported CNA.

He noted that the decision to impose a 10-year MOP for new Plus HDB flats is aimed at striking a balance between strengthening Singaporeans’ intent for owner occupation and providing them with the flexibility to move home due to genuine reasons.

Mr Lee also pointed out that while the majority of HDB flats come with a shorter MOP of five years, most Singaporeans stay in their flat for 10 years or more before deciding to sell them.

He made the statement in response to MP Xie Yao Quan’s (PAP-Jurong) query on whether the government could lower the MOP for Plus flats.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said the new BTO flat classification can help keep public housing affordable, noting that without it – prices of flats in choice locations will “become more expensive and out of reach for many Singaporeans over time” due to their good location and attributes.

“By launching them as Prime or Plus flats, the additional subsidies and tighter restrictions, including the income ceiling upon resale, will help to moderate demand for such flats, and keep prices affordable to Singaporeans from a wider range of income levels,” said MND as quoted by Singapore Business Review.

Related article: National Day Rally 2023 Summary: Standard, Plus, Prime Flat Categories, More Single Housing Options, and More


3. OK Lim’s Good Class Bungalow (GCB) on Third Avenue is on sale for $30 million

A two-storey GCB located at 20 Third Avenue has been put up for sale with a guide price of $30 million or about $2,058 PSF.

Nestled on a 14,576 sq ft site, the freehold property has a total gross floor area (GFA) of about 100,000 sq ft.

Knight Frank revealed that it is Hin Leong group founder OK Lim’s second GCB to be sold within the area. The first was at 5 Second Avenue, which was transacted for $33.39 million in October 2021.

Both bungalows are among the Lim family’s assets that are under a court-ordered asset freeze.

Knight Frank noted that the last transaction in the area was Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang’s property, which was sold for $52.8 million in November 2021.

Mary Sai, Knight Frank Singapore’s Executive Director of Capital Markets, expects the GCB to attract strong interest “given the scarcity of prime landed homes and strong demand from foreign ultra-high-net-worth families”.

The tender for 20 Third Avenue closes on 16 October 2023.


4. Island View goes en bloc, reserve price at $575 million

Island View, a 72-unit freehold condominium in Pasir Panjang, has been put up for collective sale with a reserve price of $575 million, revealed PropNex Realty.

The price works out to a land rate of $1,623 PSF per plot ratio (PSF ppr), after factoring in the latest Land Betterment Charge (LBC) rate as well as the 7% bonus balcony space.

Completed in 1984, the District 5 development occupies a sprawling elevated site spanning 309,543 sq ft. The freehold site is zoned for residential use under the 2019 Master Plan with a gross plot ratio of 1.4.

A new development on the site could yield up to 402 new homes, based on an average unit size of 100 sq m.

The tender for Island View closes on 19 October 2023.


5. Adjoining Belmont Road GCBs are on sale for $2,100 PSF

Two adjoining GCBs at 52 and 54 Belmont Road have been put up for sale by expression of interest (EOI), with the vendors expecting offers of $2,100 PSF on the land areas, revealed exclusive marketing agent JLL.

Featuring a land area of 24,178 sq ft, 52 Belmont Road is a single-storey home with a pool. 54 Belmont Road, on the other hand, has a land area of 17,563 sq ft and is a single-storey home with a lower level and a pool.

This means the two freehold properties have a combined land area of about 41,741 sq ft.

“Potential buyers who are looking for large adjoining GCB plots in this highly desirable neighbourhood are well aware that such an offering is a rare find,” said JLL Executive Director Tan Hong Boon.

“The existing houses were built in the 1970s and potential buyers are likely to redevelop the sites to contemporary style with bespoke functionality and amenities to suit their individual lifestyles,” he added.

The EOI exercise for the GCBs will close on 27 October 2023.


6. In two cases, fathers try to evade Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) but end up losing more

Two fathers learned the hard way that it does not pay to exploit a legal loophole to evade paying the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD).

In two separate cases, the parents bought a property under a legal trust for their kids.

During their respective divorce, both fathers wanted to reclaim the properties under the trusts, claiming that the transactions were sham and that they had no intent of giving the properties to their sons, reported The Straits Times.

However, the court ruled that the trusts were genuinely set up for the sons, even allowing the property to be transferred to the child in one of the cases.

“The fact that the trust arrangement additionally allowed them to save on ABSD is an incidental benefit that does not detract from their overall intention to gift their elder child and only son a legacy property while the both of them were still living,” said High Court Judge Goh Yihan.

In the other case, the court allowed the son to sack his father as the trust’s manager since he acted against the interest of the son.


7. URA awards Champions Way and Lentor Central sites

The tenders for the 99-year leasehold sites at Champions Way and Lentor Central have been awarded to the highest bidders, as announced by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

A joint venture between GuocoLand, Hong Leong Holdings’ Intrepid Investments and CSC Land Group submitted the highest bid of $435 million for the Lentor Central site, while CDL offered the top bid of $295 million for the Champions Way site.

Launched for tender on 12 April 2023, the 14,703.2 sq m site at Lentor Central has a maximum permissible GFA of 41,169 sq m. It received two bids during the close of its tender on 12 September 2023.

The 14,432.5 sq m site at Champions Way, on the other hand, was launched for tender on 25 May 2023 and has a maximum permissible GFA of 30,309 sq m. It received nine bids during the close of its tender on 12 September 2023.


8. Ang Mo Kio to get new recreational trail, revitalised town centre

Ang Mo Kio residents can look forward to a new recreational trail and a revitalised town centre under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) plan for the town.

Called the “Garden Loop”, the new trail will connect the two town gardens and the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. It will also feature fitness corners and pocket parks, allowing residents to run, walk or cycle seamlessly, said HDB.

Meanwhile, the Ang Mo Kio Town Centre will undergo a facelift in two phases, with works for the first phase set to be completed progressively from Q2 2024, while the second phase is slated to be completed in 2027.

The four existing neighbourhood centres will also be refreshed, with improvements to landscaping, pathways, and new seating areas.

With four out of 10 residents in Ang Mo Kio aged 60 and above, the neighbourhood will be designed with therapeutic gardens, exercise equipment, and fitness trails to promote active lifestyles among senior residents. Mobility enhancements like barrier-free ramps will also be included in the design to improve accessibility and enhance safety for seniors.


9. Investment market sees growing interest in office buildings, malls

Singapore’s property investment market is witnessing a growing enthusiasm for office buildings, malls and even hospitality assets.

Despite the rising borrowing costs, investors are exploring opportunities, such as asset repositioning, strata sales or taking a longer-term view.

Cuscaden Peak Investments and United Engineers are looking to sell The Seletar Mall for about $500 million, while TE Capital Partners is conducting due diligence for a potential acquisition of VisionCrest Commercial, reported The Business Times.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners is evaluating a $240 million offer for its Hotel G Singapore in the Bras Basah/Bugis area.

Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE are also discreetly marketing AEW’s 27 levels of office space at 30 Raffles Place for $725 million.

Despite the high borrowing costs, some buyers are keen due to potential capital gains rather than immediate yield.

Retail properties appear to be more attractive than offices, as the gap between borrowing costs and net yield is narrower or even non-existent.

“There are investors prepared to take a longer-term view on the Singapore property market. Some are also able to buy with low or even no gearing; for them, high borrowing costs would not come into the equation,” said a senior executive at a private equity real estate group.


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Marcus Lee, Content Executive at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email: marcuslee@propertyguru.com.sg.


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