49-year-old HDB terraced house in Whampoa sold for record $1.268 million - 23 June 2021

ST - Michelle Ng

Published Jun 22, 2021

SINGAPORE - A 49-year-old Housing Board terraced house in Whampoa was sold for $1.268 million this month, making it the most expensive HDB resale unit to change hands so far, in what has already been a record year for million-dollar flats.

It overtook the previous top spot of $1.258 million set by a five-room flat in The Pinnacle @ Duxton last September.

As at Monday (June 21), 99 HDB resale flats have sold for at least $1 million this year, the highest number of million-dollar flats sold in a year on record.

Among these, 12 were transacted this month.

This brings the total number of million-dollar flats to 401 since the first such transaction occurred in 2012.

In the latest transaction, the 210 sq m unit at Block 39 Jalan Bahagia is a two-storey, landed corner terraced unit - which are rare attributes in public housing.

It is marked as a three-room maisonette by the HDB, although 10 years ago, the sellers had gutted and remodelled the house to carve out four bedrooms and two toilets - an overhaul which cost close to $250,000.

The unit's 99-year lease started in 1972 and had a balance of 50 years and one month when it was sold.

The new home owners will pay a HDB service and conservancy charge of $55 each month.

The unit does not come with a private parking space but there is a designated HDB carpark within the estate.

The Straits Times understands that the unit was put on the market for two weeks in May and had received considerable interest from potential buyers.

The deal was closed by PropertyLimBrothers, a property agent group under PropNex Realty.

There are only 285 such HDB landed terraced units in Singapore, mainly in Whampoa and Queenstown estate.

These were built in the 1950s by the Singapore Improvement Trust, the predecessor of the HDB which was set up in 1960.

Owners of these units were issued a fresh 99-year lease when the HDB took over from SIT in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In Whampoa, the HDB terraced cluster consists of three streets: Jalan Ma'mor, Jalan Bahagia and Jalan Tenteram.

Within the cluster, seven units have changed hands this year so far.

While the 210 sq m corner terraced house is the biggest unit in Block 39, there are even larger units within the estate ranging from 215 sq m to 307 sq m.

The 307 sq m unit at Block 52 Jalan Bahagia is the largest, followed by a 297 sq m unit at Block 58 Jalan Ma'mor and a 280 sq m unit at Block 53 Jalan Ma'mor.

While paying $1.268 million for a HDB unit with a remaining lease of 50 years may leave some in disbelief, an analyst said it is more appropriate to compare such HDB terraced units with 99-year leasehold private landed terraces.

Mr Tony Koe, chief executive of real estate agency Singapore Realtors Inc, said that 99-year leasehold landed properties are gaining traction among the sandwiched class, as the entry level for freehold landed properties may be a stretch.

He noted that the average price of 99-year leasehold private properties has risen quite significantly this year to around $1.980 million from $1.774 million in 2020, so such HDB terrace units may be a more affordable alternative.

"For a certain group of buyers, age of the property is no longer crucial in their decision-making. Those cashing out from their current property of higher value are definitely the potential buyers of such HDB terrace units," said Mr Koe.

"In short, maintaining their lifestyle with a million or two for retirement. Why not?"