HDB DBSS Flats in Singapore: Price Guide to All 13 DBSS Projects

·10-min read
HDB DBSS Flats in Singapore: Price Guide to All 13 DBSS Projects
HDB DBSS Flats in Singapore: Price Guide to All 13 DBSS Projects

DBSS flats are public apartments built under the Housing & Development Board's (HDB) short-lived Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) from 2005 to 2012. They are a unique (and premium) breed of HDB flats in Singapore, which are built by private developers.

DBSS flats are known for their high prices. In fact, many of the million-dollar HDB transactions involved 5-room DBSS flats in sought-after locations. Recent ones include Natura Loft DBSS in Bishan, which was sold at $1.36m, a record high for all HDB flats ($1.36m) in October and $1.295 million in July, and The Peak @ Toa Payoh, where a 5-room flat was sold for $1.238m in August 2021.

But let's look behind the news headlines to figure out what exactly HDB DBSS flats are and whether they are worthy of such sensational prices.

List of All 13 HDB DBSS Projects in Singapore

Here's a list of all the HDB DBSS projects in Singapore which were built from 2005 to 2012:

A total of 13 DBSS projects, amounting to 8,649 units, were built in less than a decade.

DBSS Flat vs Regular HDB Flat: What's the Difference?

Unlike a regular HDB flat that is developed by the HDB (i.e. a government authority), a DBSS flat is developed by a private developer. The private developer in charge of the DBSS project bids for and purchases the land from HDB, oversees the design and planning of the project, as well as the sale and construction of the flats.

DBSS flats are different from more common, cookie-cutter HDB flats that have standard layouts and features. Within the home, residents of DBSS flats can expect features such as balconies, study areas, floor-to-ceiling windows and more natural light. The interior will resemble a private condo unit more than an HDB flat.

5-Room DBSS Flats Have an Additional Bedroom

For 5-room flats, this is where DBSS flats stand out. 5-room DBSS flats usually have four bedrooms, whereas regular 5-room flats typically only have three bedrooms and a study space that requires the addition of walls should the owner want a fourth bedroom.

DBSS flat vs 5 room HDB BTO Floor Plan
DBSS flat vs 5 room HDB BTO Floor Plan

DBSS Flat vs Executive Condominium (EC): What's the Difference?

You may be wondering: since they're sold by HDB but built by private developers, aren't they the same as executive condominiums (ECs)?

Indeed, the two property types are similar in that sense. However, they differ in a few key areas: a DBSS flat is essentially like a standard HDB in most ways, except with more premium interior furnishing and larger space. On the outside, a DBSS flat looks pretty much like any ol' HDB. The DBSS project may have better common facilities like barbecue areas and multi-purpose sports courts, but no swimming pools and/or security guards.

Unlike DBSS flats, however, ECs are built exactly as private condos are – think swimming pools, fitness gyms, and all the usual frills. They feature the full suite of facilities and amenities and are physically indistinguishable from regular condos. In fact, after 10 years, ECs become private and can be sold on the open market.

Lastly, ECs are still being launched by the government, but DBSS flats have been discontinued since 2012.

HDB DBSS Flat Prices in 2021: How Much Do They Cost?

You can't buy DBSS flats from HDB anymore, but you can find them on the resale market (more on that below).

HDB DBSS projects

Price (4-room transactions in the past 6 months)

Pasir Ris One (Pasir Ris)

$600,000 to $680,000

Parkland Residences (Hougang)

$550,000 to $755,000

Lake Vista @ Yuan Ching (Jurong West)

$543,000 to $635,000

Trivelis (Clementi)

$695,000 to $795,000

Centrale 8 (Tampines)

$585,000 to $708,888

Belvia (Bedok)

$630,000 to $760,000

Adora Green (Yishun)

$560,000 to $632,500

The Peak @ Toa Payoh

$750,000 to $895,000

Parc Lumiere (Simei)

$665,000 to $690,800

Natura Loft (Bishan)

$930,000

City View @ Boon Keng

$845,000 to $918,000

Park Central @ AMK

$690,000 to $825,000

The Premiere @ Tampines

N/A

Although DBSS flats are priced at a premium, there are a handful of affordable ones too. The million-dollar ones are usually located in the city fringe areas, or popular estates like Bishan.

When we looked at the recent 4-room DBSS flat transaction prices (above), the most affordable price was $543,000 at Lake Vista @ Yuan Ching, over in Jurong West. Other affordable DBSS projects where a 4-room unit costs $600,000 and below are Adora Green in Yishun, Centrale 8 in Tampines, Parkland Residences in Hougang, and Pasir Ris One.

On the other end of the scale, the most expensive DBSS 4-room flat sold for $930,000 at Natura Loft in Bishan, followed by $918,000 for City View @ Boon Keng, also known as the 'Kallang DBSS'.

5 Most Sought-After HDB DBSS Flats in 2021 (Based on Price)

As you can see, despite the reputation they’ve garnered in the media, not all HDB DBSS flats are expensive. DBSS prices vary from project to project, based on a combination of both location as well as ‘star power’.

Below are the highest-priced HDB DBSS flats in Singapore in 2021, where even 4-room flats are close to $1 million. They are also some of the most talked-about and sought-after DBSS flats in town.

HDB DBSS projects

Price (4-room transactions in the past 6 months)

Natura Loft (Bishan)

$930,000

City View @ Boon Keng

$845,000 to $918,000

The Peak @ Toa Payoh

$750,000 to $895,000

Park Central @ AMK

$690,000 to $825,000

Trivelis (Clementi)

$695,000 to $795,000

1. Bishan DBSS: Natura Loft

Natura Loft (Bishan) DBSS

Address

Bishan Street 24

No. of storeys

40

Nearest MRT station

CC15/NS17 Bishan

Price for 4-room flat

$930,000

Anyone who’s kept up with property news in 2021 would be aware of Natura Loft DBSS in Bishan. It holds the record for the most expensive HDB flat of all time, with a 5-room flat changing hands for a cool $1.36m in October 2021. And this is by no means a blip: Natura Loft DBSS flats transacting at over $1m for years.

Given its long remaining lease, convenient location, and proximity to elite schools like Raffles Institution and Catholic High, it’s not surprising that Natura Loft DBSS consistently fetches such high prices.

Browse Natura Loft (Bishan) DBSS for sale on PropertyGuru.

City View @ Boon Keng DBSS

Address

Boon Keng Rd

No. of storeys

40

Nearest MRT station

NE9 Boon Keng

Price for 4-room flat

$845,000 to $918,000

Another HDB DBSS project that’s been consistently sold for over the $1 million mark is City View @ Boon Keng, affectionately known as ‘that Kallang DBSS’. City View DBSS made a splash way back in 2019 as the most expensive HDB resale flat on record: $1.205 million for a 5-room flat.

If Natura Loft’s location was good, City View’s is incredible. Located in the Kallang/Whampoa district, It’s just a few minutes shy of ‘prime location’. Plus, at 40 storeys high, the Kallang DBSS’s high floors offer a stunning vista of the CBD and Marina Bay.

Browse City View @ Boon Keng DBSS for sale on PropertyGuru.

3. Toa Payoh DBSS: The Peak @ Toa Payoh

138C Lorong 1A Toa Payoh #131857310
138C Lorong 1A Toa Payoh #131857310

The Peak @ Toa Payoh DBSS

Address

Lor 1 Toa Payoh

No. of storeys

42

Nearest MRT station

CC17/TE9 Caldecott, NS18 Braddell

Price for 4-room flat

$750,000 to $895,000

True to its name, The Peak @ Toa Payoh DBSS fetches top dollar in its neighbourhood. A 5-room flat here was sold for $1.238 million in August 2021, a record high for Toa Payoh. Again, it’s not a one-off event. The previous record-holder was a $1.16m 5-room unit in the same DBSS project back in June 2021.

Interestingly, The Peak @ Toa Payoh DBSS is taller than the other DBSS projects highlighted here, at 42 storeys instead of the usual 40. If you go weak in the knees for panoramic views, you may also want to read our guide to the tallest HDB flats in Singapore.

Browse The Peak @ Toa Payoh DBSS for sale on PropertyGuru.

4. Ang Mo Kio DBSS: Park Central @ AMK

588D Ang Mo Kio Street 52 #127014660
588D Ang Mo Kio Street 52 #127014660

Park Central @ AMK DBSS

Address

Ang Mo Kio St 52

No. of storeys

30

Nearest MRT station

NS16 Ang Mo Kio

Price for 4-room flat

$690,000 to $825,000

We’ve covered HDB DBSS projects in Bishan and Toa Payoh. Which neighbourhood is next? Ang Mo Kio, of course! Park Central @ AMK DBSS may not grab headlines like its neighbours, but, make no mistake, demand for a flat here is definitely strong with 4-room flats costing above the $800,000 mark.

Park Central @ AMK is located in the food lovers’ paradise that is Ang Mo Kio, and the Instagrammable Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is just a short drive or bus ride away. It’s also walking distance to Ang Mo Kio MRT station on the North-East Line, a mere 15-minute ride from Orchard.

Browse Park Central @ AMK DBSS for sale on PropertyGuru.

5. Clementi DBSS: Trivelis

311A Clementi Avenue 4 #129634388
311A Clementi Avenue 4 #129634388

Trivelis (Clementi) DBSS

Address

Clementi Ave 4

No. of storeys

40

Nearest MRT station

EW23 Clementi

Price for 4-room flat

$695,000 to $795,000

Amid all the excitement over Natura Loft DBSS, the news about Trivelis DBSS might have escaped your attention. A 5-room flat here was sold for $1.045 million in August 2021. What’s newsworthy here is that, unlike the DBSS projects in Kallang, Toa Payoh, and Bishan, Trivelis is located in Clementi. It would definitely be a stretch to call this location ‘city fringe’ or ‘central’.

However, Clementi does offer proximity to tertiary institutions like NUS, NTU, and SIM, so it makes sense as an up-and-coming location. To date, Clementi is home to 14 million-dollar HDB flat transactions, and we might be seeing more of them in the future.

Browse Trivelis (Clementi) DBSS for sale on PropertyGuru.

Are DBSS Flats Subject to the Minimum Occupation Period?

Before you jump on the DBSS bandwagon and commit to a purchase, remember that DBSS flats are still HDB flats. This means the usual rules and eligibility criteria around buying resale HDB flats apply.

It also means that all DBSS flats are subject to the five-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). Buyers of resale DBSS flats will need to occupy it for a minimum of five years before the unit can be rented out or sold.

Final Note: Why Did HDB Stop Building DBSS Flats?

The DBSS scheme was first launched in 2005, but was suspended years later in 2012 due to the many DBSS complaints. Buyers were unhappy over issues such as poor design, workmanship and defects despite them paying a premium. These issues have largely been rectified across affected developments such as Pasir Ris One and Trivelis.

In any case, no matter what property you're viewing, do your due diligence when looking for your dream home!

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