Who knew you could buy a penthouse or a bungalow – with your CPF? That’s right, these 5 ultra-rare HDB types could double as private properties, at a bigger scale and lower price. Peek in to find out how and where you can snag these unique homes.
Luxury for less
When we think of a hip SOHO loft or a sophisticated penthouse – pricey condos or private properties come to mind. But not anymore, guys. As it turns out, you can live the landed life without having deep pockets. Just take a look at the humble HDB! That’s right, more than just known for its cookie-cutter BTOs, HDB is also responsible for these ultra-rare flats which could easily pass of as fancy private developments. How do they look like, and where can you find them? Let’s take a look (and fantasise over some of these surreal spaces) here.
1. HDB Terrace Houses
They may look like typical terrace houses with their double storeys, front porches and rooftop, but these homes found in the Queenstown, Whampoa and Jalan Bahagia estates are actually HDB flats! They were actually developed in the 1960s by HDB’s predecessor, the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT).
Of course with Singapore’s shrinking land space, HDB hasn’t been building any more of these.. So, be prepared to search hard, and pay more for one – whilst definitely much cheaper than similar landed properties, HDB terraces can still cost anywhere from $600,000 to less than a million.
A Look At A HDB Terrace Home
Keeping the decor decidedly girly and glamourous (sequinned cushions and stage lights, anyone?), this rustic terrace awash in whites evokes a tropical, colonial air that’s the perfect hideaway for any girl-about-town!
2. HDB Loft Units
Seeing a rising trend for loft units in condos, HDB has (thankfully) jumped on the bandwagon with their own pocket-friendly version of loft housing. Launched in recent developments like SkyTerrace@ Dawson or Treelodge@Punggol, HDB loft units often double as multi-generational homes with a studio apartment attached on the second level. Not surprising that this coveted flat type comes at a premium – be prepared to fork out at least $600,00 or more for a resale.
A Look At HDB Loft Units #1
Playing up to the flat’s tall, full length windows and ceilings, the living and kitchen areas are made open plan, for a spacious, penthouse look. To make up for the home’s relatively small square footage, smart, space-saving features are implemented throughout. Take for example the concealed doorways, and hidden cubbyhole shelvings in the bedrooms.
A Look At HDB Loft Units: #2
With a towering foyer and extensive mezzanine level, fun times abound in this quirky apartment filled with all sorts of different interior styles. In the living area, the staircase and recessed shelving take on a futuristic theme. The study? A laid back vibe complete with bean bags. Meanwhile, the master bedroom is a whole different look, emulating a modern European style with cabinetry set in French molding, and a plush, creamy colour scheme.
They definitely don’t build houses like they used to. Back in the 90s, where an oversupply of 3 to 4 room units lets to unsold blocks, homes in Yishun and Woodlands areas were then converted into Jumbo flats, ranging up to 192 sq meters in size. But as the neighbourhood picked up and more people moved in, HDB has stopped constructing jumbos since then. Now, only 485 units exist, and they can cost about $600,000 to $800,000.
A Look At Jumbo HDB Flats #1
A perfect representation of the urban jungle look, this jumbo flat is framed with all sorts of refreshing, lush greenery. Take the indoor plants, and the indoor trellis garden that greets visitors upon entering the living room On the other hand, the rest of the interiors are kept in clean, Scandinavian lines, featuring pale wood finishes that exude a clean, relaxing vibe.
A Look At Jumbo HDB Flats #2
Perhaps the best part about owning a jumbo flat? Having the space to do whatever you want, just like this colourful, multi-themed home. From traditional, Scandinavian to industrial and futuristic decor, multiple themes evident in each room
#4. HDB Penthouse Maisonettes
If you think maisonettes are the cream of the crop when it comes to HDB flats, then you haven’t seen this. In neighbourhoods like Bishan, Pasir Ris and Hougang, some top-level maisonettes come with a sky garden/balcony, providing an unblocked view of the city.
These ‘penthouse maisonettes’ were first developed in the 1990s, but haven’t been appearing since, making them a rare find too. Needless to say, prices are as sky high as these flats – resales can start from at least $800,000.
A Look At A (Similar) Penthouse Maisonette
Not all penthouses have to look grand and sophisticated. Why not try bright and airy – like this light-filled apartment in Pasir Panjang? With large windows and a cheery palette, loose furnishings were used throughout the space lend a clean, Scandinavian air – and help to induce an illusion of space in certain cramped areas. The sky balcony follows on this theme as well; decked in plants and faux grass, it’s a green patch of heaven away from the hustle and bustle – great for gazing away.
#5. Post War SIT Flats
Best believe that these flats have tons of street cred. Not only is it located in Singapore’s ultimate hipster enclave Tiong Bahru, it’s old-school Bauhaus style architecture exude a vintage charm that’s unlike any typical HDB flat or condo. First built in 1948 – 1951 (hence the ‘Post-war’ name) by the SIT, these blocks, with their 99-year lease closing in – are still ever popular with the new generation.
Do note that not all flats in this storied estate are under the public housing scheme; only Block 17 to 50 are. The rest which include some 1930s pre-war flats are privatised. Of course, with cool comes cost – these flats cost a tad more expensive than your usual HDB, at around $600,000 to $700,000.
A Look Into Post-War SIT Flats #1
Keeping those retro vibes intact with its retro door grilles, this post-war HDB in Tiong Bahru is surprisingly an ultra-edgy, industrial space on the inside. Applying cement screed throughout, the gritty finish sets as a background for the rest of the home’s hodgepodge of old and new accents. For instance, a modern Eames chair in the living room paired with the white latticed partitions create a cool, eclectic touch.
A Look Into Post-War SIT Flats #2
One big perk about these SIT flats, they come with larger windows, which run through the entire length of a home. Here, this abode turns this feature into its highlight. Light filters into this sleek, contemporary pad, with the use of glass partitions. These glossy, reflective surfaces also help to demarcate the various rooms in the house, without compromising on its open-plan look.
Feeling inspired? Go forth and transform your humble HDB homes into a high-class, private abode today!