From Straits Times – June 23, 2007
“HDB flats with great views are in hot demand. Vistas can drive prices up significantly – with one flat in Tiong Bahru being sold for $720,000 recently
By Tay Suan Chiang, DESIGN CORRESPONDENT
$900,000 OFFER: Retiree P.R. Sharma, 81, says that’s the best offer he has had for his 20th-floor HDB flat in Marine Crescent, which offers unblocked views (above). But he says he won’t sell it even for $1 million. — AZIZ HUSSIN
AMID the property frenzy, a five-room HDB flat on the 29th storey in Tiong Bahru was sold for $720,000 last weekend.
But property agents say that not every flat will be able to command such a lofty price.
Currently, the resale price for a five-room HDB flat varies from $200,000 in Jurong West to $338,000 in Ang Mo Kio and $520,000 in Queenstown.
Property agents say this Tiong Bahru flat sold for a record price because of its convenient location, high floor and a buyer willing to close the deal.
Mr Eugene Lim, ERA’s assistant vice-president, says there are a few factors which boost the value of a flat.
Location is one factor. Units in housing estates closer to town, such as Bukit Merah and Queenstown, will reward the seller more than another with a comparable flat sited, say, in Jurong West, he says.
The view from the flat is another big factor, say property agents. A flat becomes more desirable and can fetch a premium above valuation if it comes with an unblocked view rather than one which looks into the neighbour’s home.
Property agents are unable to say how much more a flat with a better view can command because other factors, like the unit’s condition and extent of renovation, also come into play.
An HDB spokesman confirms that a unit on a higher storey is generally priced higher.
Hot spots for flats with good city views include those in Queenstown, Tiong Bahru, Toa Payoh and Kallang. For sea views, estates such as Marine Parade and Pasir Ris are popular choices.
Mr Chris Koh, director of Dennis Wee Properties, says prices for private properties have soared over the past year due to the influx of investment from foreigners and buyers’ confidence in the Singapore economy.
And that has also boosted the demand for HDB flats in good locations and on higher floors.
‘Those who can’t afford private homes will now look at HDB flats,’ he says.
On average, prices for flats have increased by 10 to 12 per cent over the last year.
He adds that there are those who have made money from en bloc sales but are unable to find another unit of the same size and in the same location. They have turned to resale HDB flats, thereby fuelling more interest.
He cites the example of a five-room HDB flat in Marine Parade that has unblocked views of the sea. He says that, three years ago, it would have fetched about $350,000.
‘A year ago, it could sell for $400,000. Today, buyers are willing to pay $500,000,’ he says.
But even though their flat may now fetch a higher price, some home owners are unwilling to sell.
Housewife Yeo Wee Geck, 85, is one. The grandmother of six lives with her only daughter and their maid in a five-room HDB flat in Marine Parade. She bought the 20th-storey unit in the early 1970s for $30,000.
She gets to watch the sun rise from her flat, as well as enjoy views of East Coast Park and the sea. ‘It is so breezy here. I won’t move out,’ she says.