Executive flats hold up well amid overall decline in HDB resale prices

A 149 square metre (sqm) maisonette at Bishan Street 13 was sold for S$1.05 million last month. It is not the first time resale prices there have crossed the million-dollar mark. Another maisonette in the same estate went for almost S$1.1 million in October last year.

While not many executive flats like the one in Bishan have changed hands, housing analysts said prices of executive flats are holding up better amid an overall decline in HDB resale prices. One key reason could be their limited supply, and the bigger space that such flats offer.

Said Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty: “Most of the executive apartments are around the 140 to 145 sqm range, and the maisonettes are bigger, around 145 to 150 sqm. So for a three-bedroom size apartment, this is very luxurious size. And if you were to buy a similar-size unit in the private property market, it will cost you at least double or more.”

Another analyst said unit size is important for HDB flat buyers as most of them purchase the flats to stay in, rather than to rent out.

“By having more space, you can probably enhance your quality of living, even though it’s in a HDB estate. (And) the size of these (executive) flats are relatively bigger,” said Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Real Estate Sing Tien Foo.

Executive flats, which include maisonettes and executive apartments, were first built in 1980. But construction stopped when executive condominiums were introduced in 1995.

In response to Channel NewsAsia’s queries, the Housing and Development Board said executive condominiums will serve as “an alternative housing option to meet the rising aspirations of Singaporeans who wish to own something beyond standard HDB flats”.

And today, just 65,000 executive flats remain in the market – that’s about seven per cent of the total stock of HDB flats here.

But even as such flats remain in demand overall, analysts said those in the suburbs and non-mature estates are not particularly popular with buyers. “In a place like for instance, Bishan, where the stock of the executive flats is extremely limited and it’s in a city-fringe location, the demand is quite high,” said Mr Tan.

Compared to the Bishan maisonette, another one of a similar size at Jurong West Street 71 went for less than S$520,000 earlier this month.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 19 May 2015

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