Where to find the biggest and cheapest HDB flats in 2024 (from $690k)

Where to find the biggest and cheapest HDB flats in 2024 (from $690k)
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The cheapest HDBs in Singapore are all 2-room and 3-room flats. While a low quantum is nice, no one wants to cram into a 3-room flat with their brother, sister, parents, grandparents, etc.

Quite a few Singaporeans will point to lack of living space as a reason for the low birth rate —?and given that HDB buyers are overwhelmingly families, size may count for even more than in the private market. For that reason, we've picked out the areas where you can currently find both the biggest and the cheapest flats:

Overview by HDB town

Towns Floor Size Min $ Avg $ Max $
JURONG WEST 151 – 159 sqm $690,000 $776,439 $915,000
BUKIT BATOK 152 – 165 sqm $713,000 $860,000 $1,088,000
CHOA CHU KANG 152 – 157 sqm $745,000 $795,981 $885,888
JURONG EAST 155 – 162 sqm $750,000 $802,700 $910,000
WOODLANDS 151 – 192 sqm $750,000 $934,373 $1,150,000
TAMPINES 151 – 166 sqm $760,000 $883,471 $1,060,000
BUKIT PANJANG 151 – 155 sqm $778,000 $822,000 $900,000
PASIR RIS 151 – 165 sqm $780,000 $896,926 $1,030,000
YISHUN 154 – 181 sqm $808,000 $945,457 $1,080,000
BEDOK 151 – 164 sqm $810,000 $866,200 $928,000
HOUGANG 151 – 157 sqm $815,000 $930,813 $1,150,000
GEYLANG 153 – 160 sqm $850,000 $928,250 $1,028,000
SERANGOON 151 – 156 sqm $850,000 $975,644 $1,100,000
ANG MO KIO 156 – 176 sqm $895,000 $1,050,250 $1,200,000
BISHAN 151 – 182 sqm $908,000 $1,199,326 $1,480,000
KALLANG/WHAMPOA 153 – 157 sqm $930,000 $976,950 $1,050,000
QUEENSTOWN 154 – 155 sqm $958,000 $1,079,000 $1,200,000
TOA PAYOH 151 – 166 sqm $990,000 $1,065,000 $1,160,000
CLEMENTI 151 – 162 sqm $1,088,000 $1,094,000 $1,100,000
BUKIT TIMAH 154 – 154 sqm $1,288,000 $1,324,000 $1,360,000

The following are the transaction amounts for the flats. Note that we've based our numbers on the biggest HDB flats being a minimum of 150 sq m. and above, so only flats above that number were taken into consideration:

Jurong West

Month Town Flat Type Full Address Storey Size (sqm) Lease Started Price
2023-09 JURONG WEST Executive Maisonette 556 JURONG WEST ST 42 01 TO 03 151 1986 $690,000
2023-04 JURONG WEST Executive Apartment 709 JURONG WEST ST 71 07 TO 09 154 1993 $695,000
2023-08 JURONG WEST Executive Apartment 362 YUNG AN RD 04 TO 06 154 1995 $700,000
2023-08 JURONG WEST Executive Apartment 761 JURONG WEST ST 74 04 TO 06 152 1995 $720,000
2023-01 JURONG WEST Executive Maisonette 469 JURONG WEST ST 41 01 TO 03 151 1985 $722,000

Bukit Batok

Month Town Flat Type Full Address Storey Size (sqm) Lease Started Price
2023-01 BUKIT BATOK Executive Maisonette 326 BT BATOK ST 33 01 TO 03 153 1985 $713,000
2023-03 BUKIT BATOK Executive Maisonette 356 BT BATOK ST 31 01 TO 03 154 1986 $750,000
2023-12 BUKIT BATOK Executive Maisonette 222 BT BATOK EAST AVE 3 01 TO 03 157 1985 $750,000
2023-03 BUKIT BATOK Executive Apartment 406 BT BATOK WEST AVE 7 13 TO 15 152 1993 $778,000
2023-06 BUKIT BATOK Executive Maisonette 344 BT BATOK ST 34 01 TO 03 154 1986 $795,000

Choa Chu Kang

Month Town Flat Type Full Address Storey Size (sqm) Lease Started Price
2023-01 CHOA CHU KANG Executive Apartment 754 CHOA CHU KANG NTH 5 07 TO 09 152 1995 $745,000
2024-02 CHOA CHU KANG Executive Maisonette 120 TECK WHYE LANE 04 TO 06 154 1989 $750,000
2023-03 CHOA CHU KANG Executive Maisonette 207 CHOA CHU KANG CTRL 04 TO 06 154 1989 $770,000
2024-01 CHOA CHU KANG Executive Apartment 755 CHOA CHU KANG NTH 5 04 TO 06 154 1995 $777,000
2023-03 CHOA CHU KANG Executive Maisonette 207 CHOA CHU KANG CTRL 01 TO 03 154 1989 $780,000

Jurong East

Month Town Flat Type Full Address Storey Size (sqm) Lease Started Price
2023-04 JURONG EAST Executive Maisonette 327 JURONG EAST ST 31 04 TO 06 155 1985 $750,000
2023-04 JURONG EAST Executive Maisonette 325 JURONG EAST ST 31 07 TO 09 155 1985 $750,800
2023-10 JURONG EAST Executive Maisonette 337 JURONG EAST AVE 1 04 TO 06 157 1985 $800,000
2023-12 JURONG EAST Executive Apartment 223A JURONG EAST ST 21 07 TO 09 162 1993 $910,000

Woodlands

Month Town Flat Type Full Address Storey Size (sqm) Lease Started Price
2024-01 WOODLANDS Executive Apartment 142 MARSILING RD 04 TO 06 158 1995 $750,000
2023-03 WOODLANDS Executive Apartment 848 WOODLANDS ST 82 04 TO 06 161 1995 $800,000
2023-02 WOODLANDS Executive Apartment 322 WOODLANDS ST 32 01 TO 03 172 1994 $810,000
2023-10 WOODLANDS Executive Apartment 142 MARSILING RD 01 TO 03 173 1995 $818,000
2023-07 WOODLANDS Executive Apartment 830 WOODLANDS ST 83 04 TO 06 176 1994 $830,000

1. A surprising number of transactions are in the range of $800,000 or below

Due to the last few years, the general expectation is that a big flat (150 sq m?or more) will almost always reach the $1 million (or at least $900,000+) mark; but based on the transactions above, you can see a surprising number of Executive Apartments (EAs) and maisonettes can still be had for $800,000 or below.?

In terms of affordability, how does that work out?

Consider an $800,000 EA in Woodlands. Assuming a maximum bank loan quantum of 75 per cent, this is about $40,000 in cash and $160,000 in CPF. This leaves a total loan quantum of $600,000.?

With a loan tenure of 25 years and a floor rate of four per cent per annum, this comes to about $3,167 per month. Given the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) of 30 per cent, this would require a combined borrower income of about $10,556 per month.

As of 2023, the median income per household was $10,869 per month - so in theory, about half of the Singaporeans out there could afford a flat of this size; assuming they're willing to settle for a cheaper location like Woodlands.?

The sticky bit here though, is the HDB valuation:

2. The tricky part for most buyers will be the HDB valuation

In our experience, most buyers don't have an issue meeting the MSR. Rather, the issue is the cash component: the minimum of five per cent cash down*, plus any Cash Over Valuation (COV).?

In the above example, there's a good chance that the actual HDB valuation on the flat will be lower than the asking price (e.g., for our $800,000 EA, the actual valuation maybe $750,000. HDB is quite conservative in its valuations).?

As the home loan can only cover the lower of the valuation or sale price, the excess amount (i.e., the COV of $50,000 between the asking price and valuation) needs to be paid in cash. If you couple this with the minimum cash down for a bank loan, some buyers may find themselves struggling with the initial cash outlay.?

We also find, from simple experience, that owners of EAs and maisonettes tend to expect much higher COV, as their flat types are so rare; they know they likely won't be able to own similar in future. As such, first-time homeowners may still find it a struggle to buy these units, even in the cheaper HDB towns.?

*This is for bank loans, for HDB loans the minimum down payment is 15 per cent of the price or value (whichever is lower), and all 15 per cent can be in any combination of cash or CPF.?

3. Jurong East is unexpectedly cheap given the area's transformation

Note that there were only four transactions for Jurong East, but we have to cover these as they were surprisingly competitive. Jurong East has seen a substantial transformation, and is intended to be the "second CBD" of Singapore: this can be seen in the cluster of malls, offices, and entertainment outlets that are now near the Jurong East MRT station (JEM, Westgate, the upcoming J'Den, IMM, and more).

As such, the recent high prices and quick sales of J'Den is a good illustration of rising demand.?

So it is possible that these four transactions may be the last shadows of more affordable, big flats in Jurong East, and prices may not stay as they are for long.?

4. Lease decay still isn't at the halfway mark for most units

One advantage of the cheaper areas above, as compared to the usual hotspots like Tiong Bahru or Queenstown, is the lease decay.?

Admittedly, these EAs and maisonettes are still mostly among the older flats; but note that the ones in Woodlands still date back to the 1990s, while the others are mostly from the mid-1980s. This is not yet halfway through their 99-year lease, so even a 50-year-old buyer might reasonably obtain one without restrictions (e.g., no prorated use of CPF funds, because the flat can likely last until the youngest buyer is 95).?

This is something to think about besides the lower quantum if you're deciding between these HDB towns and the most common hotspots.?

We still wouldn’t go so far as to call these flats cheap?

For first-time home buyers, or those on a budget, an EA or maisonette is likely out of reach even in a "cheaper" HDB town —?it's probably still safer to start with a small resale or BTO flat and trade up later.?

But if you're in urgent need of a big flat you can move into right now, well, Singapore is a small country. I guess we just have to be grateful that, even if we need to travel to our office from Woodlands, it's probably not going to be more than an hour (or maybe ask to work from home…)

ALSO READ:?4-room flat sold for $1.15m, breaking Toa Payoh resale record

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.

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