Ultimate List Of 23 HDB Jumbo Flats: Location, Price, Size, And Are They Worth Buying?
- July 3, 2021
- 8 min read
“Spacious” is probably not what one would think of when describing most housing types in Singapore.
Unless you are one of the fortunate ones staying in a landed home, you might have felt a little cramped for space at times.
And it’s hardly surprising, given most HDBs, even 5-room flats, barely cross the 1,200 sq ft mark today.
Truthfully for bigger families that are in real need for space, you honestly don’t have much choice to select from.
Or perhaps more popularly known as jumbo flats.
What are Jumbo Flats?
Jumbo flats are essentially created by adjoining two side-by-side HDB units such that one large unit is created.
Usually, two 3-bedroom units are used, but there are some too where 4-bedroom units are also converted.
This results in a special unit of about 1,442 sq ft to over 2,000 sq ft, with ample space for a large family and can even provide a suitable option for multi-generation living.
How many Jumbo Flats are there and where are they located?
According to Straits Times, there are only about 2,900 jumbo flats in Singapore.
In 1989, back when BTO wasn’t a thing, there was an oversupply of unsold 3-room and 4-room HDB flats (totally unimaginable today, we know).
So in a bid to reduce supply, the Government merged some of these units into jumbo flats – a rather smart decision to do so.
It is a niche option, but it meant that bigger families now had a viable option to live more spaciously.
Today, you can find most of the jumbo flats in Woodlands, Yishun, and Jurong East as well as some rare ones in other regions such as Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, and even the Central area!
Here’s a complete list, to help you find these more elusive flats.
|Location||Size Range (sqm)||*Last Transacted Resale Price|
|Ang Mo Kio||134 – 178||$540,000 – $1,030,000|
|Bedok||85 – 176||$530,000 – $838,000|
|Bishan||134 – 136||$473,000 – $1,058,000|
|Bukit Batok||128 – 163||$455,000 – $578,000|
|Bukit Merah||62 – 164||$620,000 – $1,088,000|
|Central Area||104 – 163||$538,000 – $900,000|
|Choa Chu Kang||134 – 162||~$445,000|
|Clementi||134 – 164||$656,000 – $868,888|
|Geylang||82 – 150||$408,000 – $728,000|
|Hougang||118 – 174||$570,000 – $660,000|
|Jurong East||134 – 168||$500,000 – $662,000|
|Jurong West||118 – 156||$400,000 – $743,000|
|Kallang/Whampoa||118 – 210||$490.000 – $841,000|
|Marine Parade||130 – 153||$760,000 – $915,000|
|Queenstown||90 – 150||$400,000 – $988,000|
|Serangoon||128 – 146||$518,000 – $780,000|
|Tampines||136 – 193||$600,000 – $920,000|
|Toa Payoh||114 – 156||$503,000 – $910,000|
|Woodlands||123 – 164||$375,000 – $850,000|
|Yishun||128 – 163||$500,000 – $868,000|
Is it worth buying a Jumbo Flat?
As always, ‘worthy’ is subjective to the needs of individual owners.
Here at Stacked, we hope to provide potential homeowners with the framework to make their decision.
The following are some factors that you should consider before purchasing a Jumbo unit:
- The value of space
- Financing Issues
- Ease and potential of resale
- Passing of ownership on to next generations
1. The Value of Space
As one can guess, the generous space provided by a jumbo flat is its main selling point.
The biggest jumbo flat can go up to 210 sqm, or 2260 sq ft, meaning that it can house three generations while providing much needed privacy.
This size is rarely seen in other types of residential housing, maybe with the exception of penthouses or landed properties.
Even the biggest 5-room flat won’t reach up to more than 137 sqm, far from what jumbo flats can offer.
However, there are some alternatives for bigger families, including HDB Maisonettes or 3Gen flats.
|HDB Flat Types||Size||Price|
|Jumbo Flat||134 sqm – 210 sqm||From $650,000|
|HDB Maisonette||142 sqm– 158 sqm||From $620,000|
|Executive Apartment||140 sqm – 150 sqm||From $550,000|
|3Gen Flat||115 sqm||From $246,000|
|5-Room Flat||109 sqm – 137 sqm||From $394,000|
As you can clearly see, Jumbo flats still take the lead when it comes to the largest size range for a HDB property.
And naturally with that, a higher quantum.
A jumbo HDB flat at Ang Mo Kio was sold for a record of $1.03 million, despite the lease of 99 years coming to its halfway mark.
Some people may think it’s a questionable decision, but the truth is if you have a big family and require more than 3 bedrooms – a Jumbo flat represents the most affordable option by far.
To put things into context – the Ang Mo Kio Jumbo flat above sized at 1,916 sq ft translates to about S$538 per sq ft.
An equivalent option in the private resale market will probably set you back at least 50% (it used to be an even bigger gap, before the recent rise in resale HDB prices).
2. Ease and Potential of Sale
With most jumbo flats constructed in the 1980s, you are looking at most 60 years left in the lease.
So if you were to buy and stay for a couple of years before moving on, the lease would have eroded even more.
By then, with less than 50 years on the lease, it is not only difficult to sell the property again, but you should also expect very little to no resale gains.
Despite steadily increasing property prices in Singapore over the years, the depreciation from lease decay will only snowball.
Let’s take a look at how the prices of jumbo flats have fared over the years.
After the initial growth from 2006 to 2010, prices of jumbo flats have been stable at around $450 – $500 per square foot.
We are not likely to see a surge in prices for jumbo units, however, as that period coincides with a spike in the value of all HDB flats.
Devaluation of jumbo flats is definitely likely, as the downward pressure on its valuation will only intensify as the unit gets older.
However, its rarity and the scarcity of large homes will likely cushion its depreciation.
3. Financing Issues
With the highest quantum out of most other HDB flat types, one would definitely expect a large cash outlay when purchasing a jumbo flat.
One issue that will most definitely arise is the issue of Cash Over Valuation (COV), which is the asking price of the seller above the HDB’s official valuation of the property.
The difference cannot be covered by a home loan and requires owners to pay the sum fully in cash.
Jumbo units attract a much higher premium due to a number of factors.
For starters, the scarcity of jumbo units already commands a higher premium, as jumbo units make up not even 1% of all HDB units in Singapore.
On top of this, most jumbo units are located in mature estates, such as Woodlands and Yishun, where older blocks with limited supplies command a high COV today.
Another issue that can arise is a reduced Loan-To-Value (LTV) ratio of a home loan due to lease decay.
With most jumbo flats approaching the halfway mark on their leases, banks may not be inclined to approve a full 75% LTV.
This may cause you to end up with a higher down payment than the usual 25%.
The combination of a higher COV and/or down payment may make the purchase of a jumbo unit a difficult decision for buyers.
4. Rental Income and Potential Returns
Jumbo flats pose a unique opportunity for rental incomes due to their sheer size.
While jumbo units cannot be reverted back into two 3-room HDB units, it is still possible to partition in such a way to allow tenants to maximise the space and yet have enough privacy to live there.
Or you could rent it out by rooms in the future if you are hardworking enough.
For instance, if your children were to move out in the future, you do have the flexibility to rent out the unit as a whole, or to re-partition and rent out a part of the unit, or even to rent out individual rooms for bigger rental gains.
Whichever the option, the flexibility here is definitely a draw as you can still enjoy some privacy while earning a stable rental income.
5. Passing of Ownership to Next Generations
When it comes to passing a home to the next generation, it is generally better to pass on a newer property.
If your children do not currently own property, passing them a resale jumbo unit would take away their opportunity of a BTO until the lease term of the jumbo flat is up.
Even worse, if your children do own property at the time of inheritance, they are likely to not be able to keep the unit if their first property is also an HDB.
Either way, there will be much less flexibility in terms of decision-making as with 10 or 20 years left on the lease of the resale jumbo unit, paired with its niche buyers, it will be extremely difficult to dispose of unit.
With how difficult it is to get full financing at this stage, imagine how much worse it would be for future buyers to get financing to buy your unit.
In this sense, it may be better to purchase a newer unit with at least 70-80 years remaining on the lease which gives you and your children greater flexibility for home-buying in the future.
Overall, buying resale jumbo units is for serious homebuyers who intend to keep the property to stay rather than to treat it as an asset.
A jumbo unit gives you plenty of space for an extended family or a large immediate family to live comfortably for the coming years.
It is definitely a rarity to own such a big space at a reasonable price, especially in Singapore’s property context.
We saw the initial price hike years ago and with a short lease term left, as well as the government positioning HDB units as a home rather than an asset, it is unlikely that we can expect much growth in value of jumbo units.
The silver lining is that, unlike Maisonettes, new jumbo units can still be created through the HDB Conversion Scheme.
HDB Conversion Scheme
The HDB Conversion Scheme allows you to join two adjacent HDB units into a single unit.
To do so, you need to buy two flats that are next to each other, or purchase the flat next to your existing one.
If you intend to buy two adjacent units, you can apply for a single housing loan (under HDB of course) to cover both flats.
Alternatively, if you are purchasing the flat next to you for conversion, you need to discharge the existing home loan and take out a new loan for the purchase.
Note that you need to seek confirmation from HDB that the units you are intending to convert are eligible for conversion before taking out a loan.
Once converted, the flat is considered a single unit and cannot be converted back.
Additionally, you are subjected to a Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) if the adjoining unit is bought.
In terms of eligibility of buyers, singles and joint singles are not eligible for this scheme.
HDB requires that at least one buyer is a Singaporean Citizen aged 21 or above and apply for the scheme together with either:
- Children under legal custody, care and control (for widowed or divorced)
For families that need the space (and are price conscious), an HDB jumbo unit is really the only viable option to consider.
Especially if you consider a per square foot cost, a jumbo unit is really not much more expensive than a regular HDB unit.