Authorities flag $2m HDB flat listings, including misleading ad for jumbo unit in Sengkang

The authorities said the listing for a 2,400 sq ft jumbo flat in Block 314C Anchorvale Link was “misleading”, as there are no such flats in the block. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE – The authorities have flagged the listings of two HDB flats that were put up for sale for $2 million – one listing was for two adjacent five-room flats in Sengkang marketed as a jumbo flat, while the other was a five-room flat in Toa Payoh with an “unrealistic asking price”.

In a joint statement on May 8, the Ministry of National Development, the Housing Board and the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) said CEA is aware of the listings put up by two property agents and is investigating.

The listing on the PropertyGuru platform for a 2,400 sq ft jumbo flat in Block 314C Anchorvale Link with six bedrooms and four bathrooms was “misleading”, as there are no such flats in the block, the authorities said.

“The jumbo flat listed is actually two adjacent five-room flats, which are not eligible to be converted into and sold as a single unit,” they added.

The authorities said the listing was taken down after CEA brought up the misleading advertisement to the agent’s property agency.

“CEA is investigating the matter and will take firm action if any breaches are established”, they added.

The authorities noted that five-room flats in the precinct changed hands for around $580,000 over the past six months, and that the $2 million asking price is more than $800,000 above the combined value of two five-room flats.

The authorities said the listing for a jumbo flat in Block 314C Anchorvale Link was taken down after CEA brought up the misleading advertisement to the agent’s property agency. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM PROPERTY GURU.COM.SG

The property agent who put up the listing, Mr Andrew Nair from ERA Realty Network, told The Straits Times that the owners of the two flats – who are related – had received approval from HDB to hack the living room wall and combine both units when they bought it about six years ago.

“The owners are looking to sell them together, but the requirement is that there has to be two buyers,” he said.

Mr Nair added that he had removed the listing after ERA’s legal and compliance team told him to market the flats as two separate units. He will list the flats again after getting approval.

Separately, the authorities said a five-room Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat in The Peak@Toa Payoh, which was also listed for $2 million, does not have an intent to sell registered with HDB. This means that the potential seller cannot grant an option to purchase to buyers at this stage. Sellers of HDB flats have to register their intent to sell before they put their flat on the market.

The authorities noted that the $2 million listing price is almost half a million dollars above the highest transacted price in the area, and said many property experts deem it an “unrealistic asking price”.

Property agent Joyce Lim, who is with ERA, told ST that the owner of the 1,258 sq ft flat in Lorong 1A Toa Payoh is planning to register for the intent to sell.

The listing, which was put up on April 16, advertised the flat as being on a “super high floor” with “unblocked city view”.

The highest transaction at the development was $1,568,888 for a five-room, 1,258 sq ft unit between the 40th and 42nd storeys, and it was sold in January 2024.

The authorities said a five-room Design, Build and Sell Scheme flat in The Peak@Toa Payoh, that was also listed for $2 million, does not have an intent to sell registered with HDB. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM PROPERTY GURU.COM.SG

At the listed price of $2 million, both the Sengkang and Toa Payoh flats will come with significant cash over valuation (COV), the authorities said. COV is the amount a buyer has to pay in cash when a resale flat is sold above its HDB valuation.

“While the HDB resale market transacts on a ‘willing buyer-willing seller’ basis, the Government will not condone behaviour, whether by agents or sellers, that seek to disrupt the market or fan consumer sentiment,” the authorities said. They urged buyers to plan their budget carefully and to be prudent to avoid overstretching their finances.

“We should not expect housing prices to increase indefinitely amid global economic uncertainty and geopolitical instability.”

Under the code of conduct for estate agents, property agencies and agents have a duty to uphold the integrity and professionalism of the real estate industry, and to act responsibly in conducting their work, the authorities added.

CEA will look into the information presented by property agents when they market HDB flats, to protect the interests of the public and so buyers can make informed decisions, the authorities said.

Mr Nicholas Mak, chief research officer at property search portal Mogul.sg, said that if the property agents are aware that the $2 million asking price is unrealistic, they should advise the sellers to lower it.

“It is very obvious that the asking price of $2 million for an HDB flat in the current market, regardless of whether it is a DBSS flat or a jumbo flat, is significantly above the recent transacted prices of similar flats in the respective HDB towns,” he added.

The authorities added that Singaporeans have a wide range of affordable flats to choose from, such as Build-To-Order (BTO) flats that come with significant market discounts.

The majority of four- and five-room BTO flats offered in 2023, which do not fall under the prime location public housing model, were below $600,000 before grants, they noted.

Seven in 10 five-room and smaller resale flats changed hands at below $600,000 before grants, they added.

“Source:[Authorities flag $2m HDB flat listings, including misleading ad for jumbo unit in Sengkang] © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction”

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