THE most expensive new HDB flats were released for sale yesterday under a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) development launched in Tampines.
A five-room flat at Centrale 8 by developer Sim Lian will cost buyers $880,000, a whopping $750 per square foot, an amount often seen on suburban condominiums, reported The Straits Times.
DBSS flats are public housing units designed and built by private sector developers and typically come with more luxurious fittings.
The smaller-sized units at Tampines Centrale 8 are not cheap as well - a three-room flat measuring up to 667 sq ft will cost up to $510,000, while a four-room unit taking up 904 sq ft will cost up to $683,000.
The 708 units are expected to be built by 2014.
Previous records for priciest HDB flats had belonged to other DBSS projects such as The Peak@Toa Payoh and City View@Boon Keng. Five-room flats at the two projects were sold at around $720,000.
Despite the hefty price tag, market watchers noted that Sim Lian did not pay a record-busting price for the land - $261 psf per plot ratio (ppr) was paid for the 21,132 sq ft site, reported The Straits Times.
A Sim Lian spokesman explained the rationale for the high pricing and told the newspaper: "The premium is due to its locale in Tampines Regional Centre with mature amenities such as banks, three shopping malls and the upcoming Integrated Lifestyle Hub.
"It is also within walking distance to the existing Tampines MRT Station and the future downtown line 3 MRT interchange."
However, SLP International's head of research Nicholas Mak told The Straits Times that while the location is good, it did not justify the high price tag.
"Another side effect is that it might encourage resale flat sellers in the area to increase their prices, as buyers would not need to wait for their units to be built," explained Mr Mak.
When PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail first heard about the prices, he told The Straits Times that he did a double take.
"No doubt it's in Tampines, which is a mature estate with many good things going for it, but it is still extremely high for a public housing flat," he said.