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Five-room Bishan HDB flat sold for record $1.36m in 3 days, multiple offers received

Bishan is not considered a prime location under the PLH model but is popular among home hunters who are willing to pay more for resale HDB flats there.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Michelle Ng

31 Oct 2021

SINGAPORE - A five-room Housing Board (HDB) flat in Bishan changed hands for an all-time record $1.36 million this month, three days after it was put up for sale.

The unit at Block 273B Bishan Street 24 - in a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project called Natura Loft - smashed the previous high of $1.295 million logged in July by a five-room unit in the same project.

The sale of the 120 sq m unit, on the 37th floor of a 40-storey block, makes it the most expensive HDB resale unit. It has about 88 years and 10 months left on its lease.

PropNex agent Venessa Toh, 32, who brokered the deal, told The Straits Times that the sellers were confident the unit could fetch offers above $1.295 million when they approached her to market it around mid-October.

The buyers exercised the option to purchase the unit for $1.36 million on Sunday (Oct 31), according to documents seen by ST.

It comes days after the announcement of a new prime location public housing (PLH) model, which imposes stricter selling and buying conditions on future HDB flats in prime areas to keep them affordable and inclusive.

Bishan is not considered a prime location under the PLH model but is popular among home hunters who are willing to pay more for resale HDB flats there.

The record deal also comes on the back of a buoyant HDB resale market, in which prices hit a record high in the third quarter of this year.

The $1.295 million transaction in July, the second-highest record price, beat the third-highest price – set by another five-room unit in the same Bishan DBSS project in August – by $15,000.

In the latest deal, the Natura Loft flat has widened the price gap by $65,000, a clear indication of the robust HDB resale market.

Ms Toh said the response was good from the get-go as buyers appeared to have been waiting for a unit like this to come on the market.

She cited the unblocked city view, its central location and the bright, airy interior as the main attributes.

"Buyers who called were very serious and they had done their homework; they knew all the past transactions in the project, including which units sold for how much," said Ms Toh, who has been in the industry for three years. This is her first million-dollar HDB resale flat transaction.

She conducted a virtual Zoom viewing for five groups of buyers and followed up with some in-person viewings over three days.

Ultimately, there were three groups of serious buyers, and a bidding war ensued.

While there was some initial reluctance to go above the $1.295 million ceiling, the three groups adjusted their offers, some by up to four times, to outbid one another.

"The three buyers were very aware of the previous record price but once they realised there were others fighting for the same unit as them, they upped their offers before we arrived at the final price of $1.36 million," said Ms Toh.

A last-minute offer of $1.365 million came in but the sellers decided to go with the buyers who had offered $1.36 million, she added.

The sellers are a Singaporean family who are moving to a private property. They were the second owners and bought the unit around five years ago.

The buyers - who are first-time home owners - paid a "substantial" cash over valuation (COV), although Ms Toh declined to reveal the figure.

COV happens when a resale flat is sold above its HDB valuation, and the difference can be paid for only in cash, and cannot be covered by a home loan or Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.

As at Oct 31, 192 HDB resale flats have sold for at least $1 million this year, the highest number in a year on record. Besides Bishan, the central area, Queenstown and Toa Payoh typically see the most of such deals.

Of these, 18 were transacted this month.

Last year, 82 million-dollar HDB flats changed hands.

DBSS units were built by private developers, with each development characterised by unique external features and better interior finishes. Purchasers are subjected to the same eligibility criteria and regulations as HDB owners.

These units are sought after due to their rarity - the Government suspended land sales for DBSS projects in 2011 -and larger living spaces.

There are 13 DBSS projects, all launched between 2006 and 2011.

The three-day turnaround time for the Bishan unit was unexpected, even for Ms Toh, who expected to take around one month to close the deal.

She said: "I knew it would be popular because it's a rare unit, but at the $1.3 million to $1.4 million price tag, not many people can afford it so I wasn't expecting to close so soon."


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