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RECORD PROPERTY DEAL NO. 1: Paying a premium for ocean views

But analysts say price tag is not typical of HDB market, which is more moderate

IN AGEING five-room HDB flat in Marine Parade has been snapped up for a record price of $750,888 – and all because of its sweeping ocean views.

The buyers, who paid cash, bought the 32-year-old Marine Terrace flat as their retirement home.

They had the field to themselves as the high asking price of $800,000 deterred many prospective buyers.

Agent Francis Ng from HSR Property Group said the couple were the only ones to view the flat.

Mr Ng said the flat has had its walls knocked out to make an expansive living room that takes advantage of the sea view, so there is only one bedroom.

Owner Sally Sim, who lives in a landed property, renovated the flat about two years ago at the cost of just over $80,000.

She kept the property as an extra home that could one day be used as a retirement haven or for her children’s use.

‘But since the market is good, I might as well sell it,’ she said in Mandarin. ‘It’s quite tiring keeping it clean.’

ERA Singapore’s assistant vice-president, Mr Eugene Lim, said: ‘People who buy HDB flats at such record prices are not your typical HDB buyers.

‘They are cash-rich and most of them are looking for unique features, such as a full sea view.’

The Marine Parade flat is about 1,300 sq ft in size, which would put its price at $577 per sq ft (psf).

HDB flats are not usually measured on a psf basis, but pricing it this way does give an idea of how much the property is worth when compared with private housing. Mass market condominiums now cost $650 to $700 psf on average.

Executive flats, which are limited in number, have sold for a bit more but are far bigger in size. Take the seemingly stratospheric price achieved for an executive HDB flat in Mei Ling Street. It went for $755,000 but cost only $474 on a psf basis.

But such deals are certainly are not reflective of the market, which is operating at a more moderate level, said Mr Lim.

HSR executive director Eric Cheng said the market was crazier back in the mid-90s. It is rather calm currently, except for sporadic record deals, he said.


Source: The Straits Times 28 Nov 07

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