Last HUDC privatised last month – Braddell View

HUDC – most who grew up after the 80s will have no idea what these 4 letters mean in relation to the local housing market. In their heyday, the HUDC or Housing and Urban Devleopment Company scheme consisted of selected flats were built  larger, better and fancier than their other public housing counterparts. They were a little like the executive condominiums (ECs) of Design, Build and Sell (DBSS) flats of their day, meant to bridge the gap between the public and private property markets.

BraddellViewMost of the HUDC projects have been privatised over the years, and the era officially drew to a close as the last of the 18 HUDC estate reached privatisation last month. Braddell View, the largest of all the HUDC estates consisted of 918 flats and 2 shops and will join the other 7,731 units which have been privatised since its implementation almost 40 years ago. The scheme ended in 1987 when demand for bigger public housing options diminished due to the availability of private housing which fulfilled the wants and needs of the ‘sandwiched’ classes.

Ironically, many now think that the government could do very well to re-establish a scheme in the same vein as the HUDCs to provide for families hoping to upgrade within the public housing sector, especially as the newer flats are often lacking in terms of space. The privatisation of Braddell View has taken almost 18 years due to the staggered timing of leases of land on which the property stands. What is left for these HUDC estates after privatisation? The rather lucrative possibility of a collective sale, quite naturally.


Resale DBSS flats scoring high prices

Recent transactions of 3 DBSS (Design, Build and Sell Scheme) units at Park Central in Ang Mo Kio has almost reached the $1 million mark. For public housing, this is certainly a bit of a coup for the property situated near the Ang Mo Kio MRT station. But compared to normal 5-room HDB flats in Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 went for as much as $880,000, the $980,000 selling price for a 5-roomer at Park Central which just reached its 5-year MOP (minimum occupation period) in July this year sounds perfectly normal for this district.

parkcentralThe DBS Scheme was suspended in 2011 due to the soaring prices, culminating in Centrale 8 in Tampines, developers have been setting for these projects, which are privately developed though they are technically public housing. DBSS units can be sold once the 5-year MOP is reached. Some other DBSS projects which entered the resale market this year were City View @ Boon Keng, Natura Loft in Bishan and Parc Lumiere in Simei. A unit at the former was sold earlier this year at a record-breaking $1.1 million. One of the first DBSS projects which became eligible for resale in 2014 was The Premiere in Tampines.

Now could be the time for DBSS to take their time in the limelight as new HDB flats are incorporating more design features and condominium-like facilities and facades. Property analysts are expecting the DBSS gloss to lose its shine in about 10 years’ time.


DBSS flats fetching profits

DBSS – these 4 letters have previously caused quite the debate about whether these HDB flats are priced so high the only ones winning are the developers. Since 2011, the Design Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) has been suspended.

CityViewBoonKengPhoto: City View @ Boon Keng DBSS HDB flats

Now, it seems buyers of these previously-launched private developer-built HDB flats are reaping in the profits, with recent reports of a 5-room DBSS flat at City View @ Boon Keng selling at $855,000. The unit is slightly above the mid-point of a 40-storey block and has a floor area of 109 sqm. The unit was originally priced at $627,000 in 2008. That makes a profit of $228,000.

Though the $288,000 profit is only a third of the launch price (the project previously launched at prices between $349,000 to $727,000), it is quite a reasonable sum considering the current dulling market.

With unblocked views of the Kallang river, card-access lift lobbies, bay windows, it’s city-fringe location and walking proximity to the Boon Keng and Bendemeer MRT stations, it’s easy to see how these units could have fetched such high prices. And more units might enter the market soon as they reach the end of their MOP (minimum occupation period).  In fact, industry players are expecting resale prices to possibly reach the $1 million mark, similar to HDB units at Pinnacle @ Duxton.







Resale DBSS flats in demand

With four-room resale DBSS HDB flats at The Premiere @ Tampines going for $570,000 to $590,000, a marked rise from its original $278,000 to $410,000 price tags, interest in newer DBSS launches may continue as resale units just became available last year. Units at The Premiere were the first to come on the market.

The Premiere at Tampines

The Premiere at Tampines

The Design Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) was suspended in 2011 due to the high prices of flats at The Centrale 8 in Tampines. But since its suspension, majority of units at the existing DBSS projects have been successfully sold. At Pasir Ris One, only 53 units are left, with 88 per cent sold, and owners will be receiving their keys in about a months’ time. Trivelis in Clementi only has 28 units left and is ready for occupation. Lake Vista in Jurong West and Parkland Residences in Upper Serangoon have been fully sold.

Property experts are however aware that the earlier of these DBSS developments were launched when property prices were considerably lower, thus allowing for a higher profit margin. Newer projects may have been launched at higher prices. Coupled with the MSR (Mortgage servicing ratio) cap, this may mean a lower yield for future DBSS resale unit sales. With executive condominiums (ECs) and BTO flats covering the needs of most families, the role of the DBSS may not be as relevant today as before.

But demand seems to be quite positive as there will still be buyers who do not mind paying a bit more for units at a good location and with all the interior fittings and finishings done at no extra costs.

Not easy to keep the spirit of EC

What was the initial purpose of creating this particular hybrid property type? Wasn’t it to help the so-called “sandwich class”?  But now as property developers of new executive condominiums (ECs) are creating options which are comparable to private properties, does it still serve its original purpose? Who are the ones actually benefiting from the EC scheme?

Forestville EC in Woodlands

First up, one does need to be reminded that land sold under the Government Land Sales programme are priced cheaper than those for private properties. Considering that permanent residents (PRs) are the most avid buyers of resale executive condominiums, are the eligibility criteria too lax thus pushing the prices up as both property buyers and developers alike recognise the hidden value of ECs? And with the narrowing of the price gap between ECs and private properties, will this instead nudge the price tag of the latter even higher?

If you compare a penthouse in an EC at $1.7 million to one in the private market at more that $3 million, which would you go for? The answer is clear. Should ECs have penthouse units or should they belong in the private market altogether. Do you think the government should step in to manage this sector as they did the Design Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS)?

Most home buyers in Singapore are willing to offer up to S$25,000 in COV

Survey results by highlights home buyers’ willingness to secure their dream homes 

Singapore’s number one property website,, revealed in a recent Quick Poll in July, the market’s willingness to secure their dream property, even if it meant paying more than $45,000  in cash-over-valuation (COV) to seal the deal.

Key findings from the survey revealed that:

  1. Most survey respondents (63.3%) are willing to offer between S$10,000 to S$25,000 in COV to ensure they secure their dream HDB homes.
  2. The remaining respondents are willing to offer higher COV for their dream homes, with 16.8% willing to offer between S$25,001 to S$35,000, and 6.7% are willing to offer between S$35,001 to S$45,000.
  3. 13.2% of respondents are willing to offer S$45,001 and above.

If given the opportunity to own the HDB home of your dreams, with ideal location and facilities, how much COV (cash-over-valuation) are you willing to offer to ensure you secure that property?

A total of 327 respondents took part in this online survey from 28 June 2011 to 19 July 2011.

This comes on the heels of recent reports of a Tampines unit at Block 151 of Tampines Street 12 which sold at $150,000 COV, further reinforcing current market sentiments that saw the return of higher COV with the tightened supply in the housing market.

In response to Singapore’s all-time-high property prices, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan recently commented, during his first official visit to the HDB Hub, that prices of HDB’s new flats are typically pegged to prevailing resale prices, but are discounted.

Acting on the public’s call for more affordable housing, the HDB had seemingly lowered indicative starting prices for new flats recently launched in Sengkang, Tampines, Jurong West, Bukit Panjang and Yishun – as compared to the previous BTO launch in May 2011.

Commenting on Minister Khaw’s recent measures to alleviate the demand-supply conundrum, Shaun Di Gregorio, Chief Executive Officer of iProperty Group Limited “Home buyers are now getting closer to obtaining their dream homes – be it new or resale flats – as signs of the stabilising housing market are beginning to appear. Not only are we going to see more and more new HDB flats being offered in bumper BTO launches in months to come, our recent Quick Poll also suggests that most home buyers are willing to fork out top dollar to secure flats in ideal locations and with good facilities nearby.”

He added, “However, there is still some way to go in addressing affordability issues – home buyers are still anxious to see what comes with the review of the income ceiling for first- timers to buy BTO flats, as well as the review of the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), and how this affects prices of the remaining 9,500 new flats by year end, and subsequently, the impact on resale prices.”