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4-room Jalan Membina flat sells for a record $609 psf

It is believed to be the first time an HDB flat has crossed the $600 psf mark

A FOUR-ROOM flat at Jalan Membina has smashed the record for the most expensive Housing Board (HDB) flat ever to change hands in terms of price per sq ft (psf).

The 969 sq ft flat sold for $590,000 two weeks ago, which works out to $609 psf – believed to be the first time an HDB flat has ever crossed the $600 psf threshold.

A fabulous view towards Sentosa, and a superb location near Tiong Bahru MRT station and Tiong Bahru Plaza, are being cited as key factors for the very high price.

The last record, reported only days ago, was set by an executive flat in Mei Ling Street with a much larger floor area of 1,614 sq ft, which sold for an eye-popping $890,000, or $552 psf.

Smaller flats usually command higher psf prices – if the Mei Ling flat had been sold at the same $609 psf price as the Jalan Membina flat, it would have fetched $983,000.

Ms Mylene Kwan, 33, a PropNex housing agent who brokered the latest deal, told The Straits Times yesterday that the buyers were a middle-aged couple who recently sold a Queenstown executive flat and needed a new home.

The flat, in Block 21, had a valuation of $475,000. It is a five-year-old unit on a high floor of the 30-storey block, said Ms Kwan.

‘The flat was quite attractive, well-maintained, relatively new, and quiet.’ The sellers, a couple aged over 50, declined to be interviewed.

The latest record stunned some industry players.

Knight Frank director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said the price was ‘unusual’ – even ‘irrational’ – given that buyers spending more than $600 psf were typically looking at mass market suburban condos.

‘With this price now, you could buy a 99-year condo at outlying estates,’ said Mr Mak.

HDB’s latest data show four-room units in the same area sold for $415,00 to $495,000 late last year.

Mr Mohamed Ismail, head of property agency PropNex, said the flat’s location was likely to be the main factor.

‘If bigger five-room, executive units at prime locations sell at this price, HDB prices will push towards the $1 million mark,’ he said.

Mr Eugene Lim, assistant vice-president of ERA Singapore, said this was very unlikely. He was not surprised at the price as smaller units usually get higher psf prices.

Mr Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore, said the sale was likely to be a ‘one-off’ event. It was likely the result of a ‘ripple effect’ from the private sector, where recent en bloc sales have flooded the market with cash-rich homebuyers looking to downgrade to an HDB home.


Source: The Straits Times 12 Jan 08


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