Saturday, September 27, 2008

$645K HDB's Priciest Flats Go On Sale

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 27, 2008

Pinnacle@Duxton units are among 992 released for sale yesterday

FOR sale: the most expensive flats ever released by the HDB.

They are the remaining 111 five-room units at the iconic 50-storey Pinnacle@Duxton in Tanjong Pagar, which is due to be completed this year.

The seven blocks of Pinnacle@Duxton dominates the Tanjong Pagar skylin. Forty-four units cost more than $600, 000. -- ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

Prices start at $545,000 and go up to an eye-popping $645,800 for a 49th storey unit, making them Singapore's costliest new flats by a long shot. Forty-four cost more than $600,000.

The current record for a new HDB flat is held by a five-room unit at Toa Payoh, which was released for sale in February at $531,500. This excludes the premium flats built by private developers under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS).

Pinnacle@Duxton also has 317 four-room units still unsold, which were made available at prices ranging from $457,000 to $555,000. These units are left over from when the development was launched in 2004. The flats were then priced between $289,200 and $439,400 and met with overwhelming response.

But not all the units were eventually sold, and some were returned to HDB after the buyers withdrew from their planned purchases.

The remaining flats were among 992 new flats released for sale yesterday under HDB's latest balloting exercise, which also included surplus units from the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) in Ang Mo Kio, Jurong West, Kallang/ Whampoa and Queenstown.

While the prices for the Pinnacle@Duxton flats seem steep, the HDB said they were still lower than the prices of resale flats in the area.

'Despite their pricing, units at the Pinnacle@Duxton are especially attractive as they are priced below the market prices of similar flats in the resale market,' a spokesman said.

'Their high prices are supported by recent open market resale prices of comparable flat types in the vicinity, for example at Cantonment Close, Tanjong Pagar and Jalan Membina. Overall resale prices in these areas have gone up in recent years.'

HDB provided figures showing that prices for five-room flats in Jalan Membina recently hit $670,000 for a unit above the 20th floor. The average price of a five-room flat sold in Jalan Membina and Cantonment Close over the last three months was $624,000.

Still, whether buyers will respond well to these prices remains to be seen.

Housewife Lily Lee, who is in her 30s, said the prices for the Pinnacle@Duxton units were 'very high'.

'I wouldn't pay $600,000 for a five-room flat, I don't think any HDB flat is worth that value,' she said.

But Mr Zhao Bing Yao, 29, thought the price seemed 'reasonable in this market'.

'My friend just spent about $400,000 for a four-room flat in Clementi that is 30 years old, so I think it's okay to pay up to $600,000 for a brand-new five-room flat near town,' said the director of an IT company.

Mr Mohamed Ismail, the chief executive of property agency PropNex, said that HDB 'has no alternative but to price at market norms'.

'If they price too low, it will have an impact on resale prices in the area,' he said, adding that private homes in Tanjong Pagar cost mostly above $1,000 psf.

Still, he noted that the target group of buyers for the Pinnacle@Duxton flats will be 'very small', given the $8,000 monthly household income ceiling. Buyers of the five-room flats would be paying almost $3,000 in monthly mortgage instalments, he said.

For 'young couples and those who are not ready to pay the higher prices for flats in Pinnacle@Duxton', HDB suggested applying for the other types of flats released in yesterday's balloting exercise.

These include 285 flats in Jurong West along Corporation Drive, with three- room flats starting at $142,000, four- room flats starting at $213,000, and five- room flats starting at $270,000.

There are also four- and five-room flats in the Kallang/Whampoa area next to Kallang MRT, and 128 studio apartments in Ang Mo Kio that elderly buyers can opt for.

As at 5pm yesterday, 1,271 applications had been received for the 992 flats.

On the market

# Pinnacle@Duxton, Tanjong Pagar Units: 428 (317 four-room, 111 five-room)

Prices: $457,000 to $645,800

# Ang Mo Kio Units: 128 studio apartments

Prices: $80,000 to $115,000

# Kallang/Whampoa Units: 103 (39 four-room, 64 five-room)

Prices: $364,000 to $554,000

# Queenstown Units: 48 five-room flats

Prices: $481,000 to $539,000

# Jurong West Units: 285 (91 three-room, 164 four-room, 30 five-room)

Prices: $142,000 to $306,000


'I wouldn't pay $600,000 for a five-room flat, I don't think any HDB flat is worth that value.'

Housewife Lily Lee, who is in her 30s and looking for a new flat


'My friend just spent about $400,000 for a four-room flat in Clementi that is 30 years old, so I think it's okay to pay up to $600,000 for a brand-new five-room flat near town.'

Mr Zhao Bing Yao, 29, director of an IT company

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