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More HDB resale flats sold for at least $1m in first 9 months of 2022

More Housing Board resale flats have changed hands for at least $1 million in the first nine months of 2022 than in the whole of 2021, as overall property prices continue to edge up.

As at Sunday, there have been 266 million-dollar HDB resale flat transactions, exceeding the 259 units recorded in 2021, according to HDB data.

This comes on the back of a robust HDB resale market that has seen prices climb for 26 consecutive months, despite rising interest rates.

Professor Sing Tien Foo, director of the Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies at the National University of Singapore, said it is not surprising that more HDB resale flats have crossed the $1 million threshold owing to the rising price momentum seen in the HDB resale market.

"If HDB resale prices remain strong, there will likely be more of such million-dollar deals," he said.

However, a stark difference in 2022, compared with previous years, is the number of non-mature estates clocking million-dollar HDB transactions.

Of the 266 transactions, 12 – all executive apartments or maisonettes – were located in the non-mature estates of Woodlands, Yishun, Hougang, Bukit Batok and Punggol.

In previous years, such deals were typically found only in mature estates such as Bishan, Toa Payoh, Queenstown and the central area where The Pinnacle@Duxton is located.

The only exception was a 177 sq m maisonette in non-mature estate Hougang that sold for $1 million in 2018.

In 2022, there have been five million-dollar transactions in Woodlands, three in Yishun, two in Hougang, and one each in Bukit Batok and Punggol.

The most expensive is a 149 sq m five-room loft unit at Block 268C Punggol Field that changed hands for $1.198 million in September.

OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun said as prices of million-dollar flats in mature estates have crept up over the past nine months, more people might be turning to non-mature estates for "cheaper alternatives".

This group of buyers could be willing to shell out top dollar for a unit with desirable qualities such as large floor area with a good view or proximity to MRT stations, she added.

"Those who have flexible work arrangements or do not need to go to the Central Business District often may not mind living farther away in the suburban areas where units are larger and more affordable," she said.

But it is not just non-mature estates that are seeing such deals, as more mature estates are also joining the growing list.

In 2022, Pasir Ris, Tampines and Marine Parade had two such deals each while Bedok had lodged its first.

A 173 sq m executive apartment at Block 629 Bedok Reservoir Road was sold for $1,048,888 this month. PHOTO: PROPERTYLIMBROTHERS (PLB) REALTY

Property agents Lee Jun Wei, 26, and Kevin Lim, 41, who jointly closed the $1,048,888 deal on a 173 sq m executive apartment at Block 629 Bedok Reservoir Road told The Straits Times that the demand was overwhelming despite the initial listing price of $1.15 million.

"Each week, we had more than five groups of potential buyers coming to view the unit. Its sheer size was the selling point, as it was a three-room and a four-room unit combined – what people refer to as a jumbo flat – which is usually found in the northern areas of Singapore," said Mr Lee. Both agents are from boutique agency PLB Realty.

To date, the most expensive resale flat is a 122 sq m five-room loft unit at Block 92 Dawson Road in SkyTerrace@Dawson which sold for $1.418 million in July 2022.

A report by OrangeTee & Tie released in August said the demand for million-dollar HDB flats may be fuelled by a widening price gap as new condominium units in the suburbs become more expensive.

For instance, in the first eight months of 2022, the median price of a four-room HDB resale flat selling above the $1 million threshold is around $1.13 million while the median price of a new condo in the suburb is $1.73 million.

While 2022 is set to be yet another record year for million-dollar HDB transactions, some uncertainty looms ahead.

NUS' Prof Sing said the latest United States Federal Reserve rate hike on Sept 21 – the highest in 14 years – could cool buyers' sentiments, though it may take time for the effect to trickle down to the property market, he added.

"As more banks are expected to revise their housing mortgage rates upwards with this latest hike, home buyers will feel the effects, which could in turn have a negative impact on property prices," he said.

 

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