The number of million-dollar Housing Board resale units reached a record 19 for the year.
The majority were from the iconic Pinnacle@Duxton estate in Cantonment Road, according to figures from property portal SRX.
The other properties that joined the million-dollar club were in the central and mature estates.
Among them were several flats in City View@Boon Keng and Natura Loft in Bishan, which reached the five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) this year. A unit at Clementi Towers, the first HDB project to be integrated with a mall and a bus interchange, was sold for $1,005,000 in August. Last year, there were 12 transactions exceeding $1 million island-wide. The lucrative deals this year were made against a slowing economy and softening property market. Experts point out that these million-dollar resale flats were the minority and located in prime locations that will always fetch a premium.
In light of other highly sought-after HDB launches in recent years, will there be other “gold mines” like Pinnacle@Duxton in future? International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong thinks that new developments at Bidadari and Dawson could hit the $1-million mark after reaching the MOP. He said: “The projects at Dawson won significant design awards. “Looking at the exterior of the flats, it is definitely not the typical HDB project. “Bidadari is a new town, but it is located near MRT stations. “The estate’s garden-like landscaping and proximity to good schools will also add to its value.” But SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak thinks it is unlikely the other HDB estates will churn large profits like Pinnacle@Duxton. “Location and supply determine high prices,” he said. “It is unlikely that there will be another HDB development near Pinnacle@Duxton, so that is its strongest selling point.”
In an interview in October, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the Government is considering ways to tighten resale conditions for public flats in the downtown to mitigate the “lottery effect”. He mentioned possible measures – a longer MOP, shorter lease, or higher resale levy.
Most experts are in favour of taxing the profits. For instance, PropNex Realty chief executive officer Ismail Gafoor suggested a fixed levy on flats sold above $700,000, or something similar to the seller stamp duty. Alternatively, Mr Ismail suggested that HDB sell these flats at higher prices based on the demand of the location but warned it could be criticised as elitist. He added: “It is public housing after all, so it is not ideal if prices are too high.”