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Queenstown flat sold for record $890k

21st-storey executive flat in Mei Ling Street was bought for $300,000 in 1992

THE brief for the property agent was simple: Find an HDB flat with great views and near an MRT station. Top floors only – and, it appears, never mind the price.

Two intense days of door-knocking and a record $890,000 later, the buyer has his dream home – and the most expensive Housing Board flat in the country.

For his money, he gets a spacious 21st-storey executive flat in Queenstown, with expansive views towards Sentosa and leafy Mount Faber on one side and Queenstown Stadium on the other.

The 13-year-old flat in Block 150, Mei Ling Street, is just a few minutes away from Queenstown MRT via a sheltered walkway, and a swimming complex is just around the corner.

The owners, Mr David Ho Khoi Seng, 72, and wife Judy, 64, had paid just over $300,000 for the 1,614 sq ft flat, which has four bedrooms, a living room and a study, in 1992.

Mr Ho, who runs a stationery shop, said he had no intention of selling when PropNex agent David See and his son came knocking last Thursday.

The couple tried to deter the buyers – believed to be an elderly couple who own private property – by asking for what they felt was a ridiculous $900,000.

‘We thought $900,000 was too high a price for anyone, but the buyers seemed pretty desperate to find a suitable flat,’ said Mr Ho.

Mr See, 47, said he roped in his 20-year-old son Wilson for the quest to give him some work experience before he starts university later this year.

But knocking on doors, he said, is something he would only do for ‘genuine buyers’.

‘It was a challenge. It’s not easy to get people to sell high-floor units at this time,’ he added.

Demand had sent HDB resale prices up 17.4 per cent last year, the highest in a decade, but executive flats in coveted districts near the central city like Queenstown and Bukit Merah have been extra hot.

The old record for an HDB flat was $780,000 – also for an executive flat in Mei Ling Street – achieved last November.

Five other such flats in Mei Ling Street changed hands between November and December, ranging in price from $728,000 to $765,000.

Median resale prices of executive flats in Queenstown hit $719,000 between July and September last year, a jump from $609,000 in the previous quarter. This type of flat in Queenstown commanded $120,000 in cash over their valuation in the same period.

A five-roomer in Kim Tian Place in nearby Bukit Merah changed hands for $720,000 last June.

With prices of resale HDB flats expected to climb further, the latest deal has prompted some people to ask when a public housing unit will cross the $1 million mark.

Agents reckon that is a way off yet.

Mr See thinks his record deal was more a reflection of the buyers’ eagerness, rather than market sentiment.

Meanwhile, Mr Ho and his wife will live with their 35-year-old son in his Siglap terrace house until they find a suitable home.

When they move, Mr Ho will have to give up a pastime of his: Watching S-League football matches at Queenstown Stadium from the balcony of his Mei Ling Street flat’s master bedroom.

$1m flat? Not yet

THE latest deal has some people asking when a public housing unit will cross the $1 million mark.

Mr Eric Cheng, executive director of HSR Property group, said it was unlikely to happen in the next two years.

PropNex agent David See, the agent for the Mei Ling Street deal, thinks the record sale was more a reflection of the buyers’ eagerness, rather than market sentiment.

Source: The Straits Times 9 Jan 08

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