Resale HDB Here’s Where You Can Find The Biggest 5-Room HDB In All 26 Estates
- Ryan J
- June 17, 2021
- 9 min read
By now it’s no secret that HDB flats have shrunk over the years. In fact, the size difference between a 4-room unit built in the 1980’s (average of 1,130 sq. ft.) is not far off from a 5-room unit today (average of 1,184 sq. ft.). For Singaporeans with bigger families, it’s a common point of frustration; but not many alternatives exist.
Especially in this pandemic era, there’s definitely a renewed focus on having more space at home. So with that in mind, this week we’re taking a look at some older resale units, from the days when HDB built big. Here’s where to find the biggest 5-room HDB flats:
Where to find the biggest 5-room HDB flats:
|Town||Address||Size (sqm)||Flat model||Lease commenced||Last transacted||Price|
|Ang Mo Kio||644 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4||150||Adjoined Flat||1980||2018-07||$688,888|
|Ang Mo Kio||643 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5||150||Adjoined Flat||1980||2007-09||$386,000|
|Bedok||717 Bedok Reservoir Rd||153||Model A-Maisonette||1984||2020-07||$740,000|
|Bishan||235 Bishan St 22||142||Model A||1992||2004-10||$400,000|
|Bukit Batok||102 Bt Batok West Ave 6||151||Model A||1985||2019-06||$480,000|
|Bukit Batok||101 Bt Batok West Ave 6||151||Model A||1985||2004-01||$345,000|
|Bukit Merah||115 Bt Purmei Rd||157||Model A||1985||2020-07||$795,000|
|Bukit Merah||111 Bt Purmei Rd||157||Model A||1984||2012-07||$800,000|
|Bukit Merah||114 Bt Purmei Rd||157||Model A||1985||2011-12||$708,000|
|Bukit Panjang||224 Pending Rd||140||Adjoined Flat||1989||2006-02||$275,000|
|Bukit Timah||8 Empress Rd||130||Adjoined Flat||1976||2018-09||$755,000|
|Central Area||641 Rowell Rd||141||Model A||1983||2005-08||$360,000|
|Central Area||642 Rowell Rd||141||Model A||1984||2000-06||$435,000|
|Central Area||639 Rowell Rd||141||Model A||1983||1994-06||$330,000|
|Choa Chu Kang||307 Choa Chu Kang Ave 4||141||Model A||1993||1998-07||$418,000|
|Clementi||114 Clementi St 13||155||Model A-Maisonette||1984||2006-02||$380,000|
|Geylang||62 Dakota Cres||153||Model A-Maisonette||1984||2016-03||$950,000|
|Hougang||231 Hougang St 21||152||Model A-Maisonette||1984||2015-02||$740,000|
|Jurong East||410 Pandan Gdns||172||Adjoined Flat||1979||2008-06||$388,000|
|Jurong West||112 Ho Ching Rd||156||Adjoined Flat||1970||2010-10||$443,000|
|Kallang/Whampoa||14 Kg Arang Rd||210||Adjoined Flat||1984||2001-11||$271,888|
|Marine Parade||31 Marine Cres||153||Adjoined Flat||1975||2021-05||$760,000|
|Marine Parade||32 Marine Cres||153||Adjoined Flat||1975||2009-08||$660,000|
|Marine Parade||65 Marine Dr||153||Adjoined Flat||1976||2008-11||$675,000|
|Marine Parade||6 Marine Ter||153||Adjoined Flat||1975||2001-11||$364,000|
|Pasir Ris||194 Pasir Ris St 12||140||Model A||1993||2021-03||$580,000|
|Pasir Ris||186 Pasir Ris St 11||140||Model A||1993||2019-06||$475,000|
|Pasir Ris||188 Pasir Ris St 12||140||Model A||1993||2019-02||$476,000|
|Pasir Ris||185 Pasir Ris St 11||140||Model A||1993||2018-06||$510,000|
|Pasir Ris||180 Pasir Ris St 11||140||Model A||1993||2015-09||$480,000|
|Pasir Ris||187 Pasir Ris St 11||140||Model A||1993||2013-12||$530,000|
|Punggol||268B Punggol Field||149||Premium Apartment Loft||2013||2020-09||$900,000|
|Punggol||267B Punggol Field||149||Premium Apartment Loft||2013||2019-05||$900,000|
|Punggol||270B Punggol Field||149||Premium Apartment Loft||2013||2019-02||$908,888|
|Punggol||269A Punggol Field||149||Premium Apartment Loft||2013||2019-01||$910,888|
|Punggol||267A Punggol Field||149||Premium Apartment Loft||2013||2017-10||$860,000|
|Punggol||270A Punggol Field||149||Premium Apartment Loft||2013||2016-12||$835,000|
|Queenstown||3 Ghim Moh Rd||150||Adjoined Flat||1976||2019-08||$860,000|
|Queenstown||2 Ghim Moh Rd||150||Adjoined Flat||1976||2016-08||$830,000|
|Queenstown||19 Ghim Moh Rd||150||Adjoined Flat||1977||2009-09||$580,000|
|Queenstown||6 Ghim Moh Rd||150||Adjoined Flat||1976||2005-06||$390,000|
|Sembawang||469A Admiralty Dr||123||Premium Apartment||2001||2021-05||$470,888|
|Sembawang||324 Sembawang Cl||123||Improved||1999||2021-03||$540,000|
|Sembawang||468C Admiralty Dr||123||Premium Apartment||2001||2020-10||$400,000|
|Sembawang||327 Sembawang Cres||123||Improved||1999||2020-09||$445,000|
|Sembawang||325 Sembawang Cres||123||Improved||1999||2020-06||$428,000|
|Sembawang||323 Sembawang Cl||123||Improved||1999||2020-03||$438,000|
|Sembawang||322 Sembawang Cl||123||Improved||1999||2019-12||$410,000|
|Sembawang||321 Sembawang Cl||123||Improved||1999||2019-05||$470,000|
|Sembawang||467A Admiralty Dr||123||Premium Apartment||2001||2019-05||$388,000|
|Sembawang||304 Canberra Rd||123||Improved||1998||2018-06||$415,000|
|Sembawang||469B Admiralty Dr||123||Premium Apartment||2001||2017-12||$368,000|
|Sembawang||469 Admiralty Dr||123||Premium Apartment||2001||2015-10||$455,000|
|Sembawang||308 Canberra Rd||123||Improved||1998||2010-09||$406,000|
|Sembawang||467 Admiralty Dr||123||Premium Apartment||2001||2009-12||$368,000|
|Sengkang||106 Rivervale Walk||125||Improved||1999||2021-06||$520,000|
|Sengkang||112 Rivervale Walk||125||Improved||1998||2013-06||$528,000|
|Sengkang||107 Rivervale Walk||125||Improved||1999||2009-03||$320,000|
|Serangoon||2 Lor Lew Lian||146||Adjoined Flat||1983||2019-09||$780,000|
|Tampines||411 Tampines St 41||142||Model A||1985||2021-06||$630,000|
|Tampines||126 Tampines St 11||142||Model A||1985||2014-10||$550,000|
|Tampines||408 Tampines St 41||142||Model A||1985||2001-11||$355,000|
|Tampines||405 Tampines St 41||142||Model A||1985||1999-06||$335,000|
|Toa Payoh||121 Potong Pasir Ave 1||167||Model A-Maisonette||1984||2021-04||$945,000|
|Woodlands||13 Marsiling Ln||152||Adjoined Flat||1976||2016-01||$460,000|
|Yishun||793 Yishun Ring Rd||141||Model A||1992||2018-08||$540,000|
|Yishun||608 Yishun St 61||141||Model A||1992||2017-01||$495,000|
|Yishun||242 Yishun Ring Rd||141||Model A||1986||2012-06||$520,000|
|Yishun||616 Yishun Ring Rd||141||Model A||1992||2009-06||$380,000|
|Yishun||631 Yishun St 61||141||Model A||1992||2008-03||$311,000|
|Yishun||227 Yishun St 21||141||Model A||1985||1997-04||$465,000|
Key things to note about bigger flats:
- With the exception of Punggol, bigger flats are older flats
- Premium Apartments are not Executive Apartments
- Adjoined flats are actually two flats in one (jumbo flats)
- Mature estates don’t have a monopoly on the biggest flats
- Due to low transaction volumes, prices can be volatile
1. With the exception of Punggol, bigger flats are older flats
You’ll notice the majority of the flats are at least 20 years old, and that the biggest ones – such as in Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade – date all the way back to the 1980’s.
Buyers of ‘80s era flats should be aware of two things:
First, only around four to five per cent of HDB estates will undergo the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). You can see the list of SERS sites so far in this previous article.
This means the majority of units on this list are going to carry on until they reach the Voluntary En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (VERS), or simply run out of lease and be taken back. Given that most buyers are pure home owners (the appeal is the size, not the age), it’s also more plausible that the 80 per cent consensus for VERS will not be reached. As tempting as a 1,100+ sq. ft. 4-room flat may sound, younger buyers should keep this in mind.
Second, remember that the remaining lease of the flat must last until the youngest buyer reaches the age of 95. Otherwise, CPF usage will be pro-rated, and you won’t get full financing from an HDB loan.
Punggol provides a possible solution here. Check out the Punggol flats listed above, in particular, the 5-room flats from 267A to 270B. These are some of the newest “big” flats we’ve found, at around 1,603 sq. ft. (Note, these are loft units though).
The 5-room units appear close to the intersection of Punggol Field and Punggol Way; this would put them 1.1 km from Punggol MRT and Waterway Point. While not in walking distance, this is still fairly close to the hub of the area.
The best part is, the leases of the Punggol flats above mostly commenced in 2013. These are one of the few ways to get a big flat less than 10 years old.
Sembawang provides the next youngest alternative, with 5-room flats reaching about 1,323 sq. ft. These have leases that only commenced between 1999 and 2001.
2. Premium Apartments are not Executive Apartments
Premium Apartments were a type of flat sold in the 1990’s. The term “premium” referred mainly to the finishing; these flats came with features like full-height windows*, tiling, built-in wardrobes, etc. You can think of them as a predecessor to the later Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats.
These are often confused with EAs, because many premium apartments are also bigger than standard flats. To add to the confusion, there are EAs that are also labelled as Premium Apartments. Nonetheless, know that there are even 3-room flats that are Premium Apartments (see Punggol, in the list above).
The “premium” distinction is not as attractive in resale terms, as it is probable that subsequent owners have renovated or changed the interior.
There is a long-held, but unverified, belief that Premium Apartments are always the most high-profile blocks in any neighbourhood; and that HDB makes these look better for a more picturesque impression. This might matter to buyers who are concerned about the façade.
*For most HDB flats, you get ¾ height windows for living rooms, and ½ height windows in bedrooms.
3. Adjoined flats are actually two flats in one (jumbo flats)
HDB has a conversion scheme, which allows owners to convert two flats into one unit (subject to their approval). In some cases, HDB might also adjoin flats and sell them as single units.
We wouldn’t count on easy approval though. There are only an estimated 2,900 jumbo flats in Singapore, making them one of the rarest HDB types.
The biggest adjoined flats to date are in Ang Mo Kio, where they can range from 1,615 sq. ft. to 1,916 sq. ft. In 2020, the first million-dollar flat in Ang Mo Kio was one of these units at Avenue 1, reaching $1,008,888 for 1,302 sq. ft.
The 5-room adjoined flats along Ghim Moh Road (see list above), in Queenstown, are also known to many in the industry. Despite their 1,600+ sq. ft. floor size and mature location, many of these have yet to hit the $1 million mark; it’s likely just a matter of time now. These flats have leases going back to the 1970’s though, so it’s likely just pure home-owners who would be interested.
4. Mature estates don’t have a monopoly on the biggest flats
If you look at the 5-room flats on the list, you’ll see non-mature estates are well represented. Punggol and Pasir Ris stand out for having very large flats, with leases that reach from the 1990’s to 2010’s – these are preferable for younger buyers.
Rivervale in Sengkang, while hardly being the most exciting place in Singapore (it’s just HDB blocks jutting up from every angle), offers impressive 1,346 sq. ft. 5-room flats. Yishun is also known as an area with relatively larger flat sizes, with 5-room flats reaching around 1,518 sq. ft.
So while the first instinct is often to seek out old, mature estates like Marine Parade or Queenstown, it might be a good idea to check non-mature areas as well.
5. Due to low transaction volumes, prices can be volatile
Now we come to the biggest bugbear in buying these old, huge HDB flats. In the list above, you’ll notice units in many of these areas haven’t seen any transactions for years at a stretch; some of these areas can go for over a decade with no transactions.
As there are fewer points of reference, and many of these flats are rare, prices can be unpredictable. Buyers should generally expect to face higher COV costs; and in the cases of million-dollar flats, COV amounts have sometimes exceeded $50,000.
(The COV is not covered by the bank or HDB loan, and must be paid in cash).
We suggest you try to get a property agent who has recently made transactions in the area, or has specialised in the estate for a number of years. It’s much harder to get a sense of fair value for these rare and older units. You can also drop us a note, and we can try to find you similar units in the area.
A final note on HDB terrace houses
There are, in fact, landed HDB properties. These are terrace houses built by the former Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT); HDB was saddled with them after they replaced SIT.
We haven’t included these in the discussion as they’re radically different from just a “bigger flat”. Unit sizes go from 850 sq. ft. to 1,916 sq. ft, but floor plans are hard to get, and surprises may exist. To date, there are only 285 of these units.
There’s only one transaction we found on the list – a 3-room, 1,205 sq. ft. unit at 56 Stirling Road, which went for $850,000 back in 2015. Note that the terrace units date back to the late 1960’s, which means some may have 40 years or less on the lease (this could mean financing difficulties, if you use a bank loan).
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