3 reasons why HDB playhouses will remain popular despite cooling measures, Lifestyle News

There has been increased interest in HDB maisonettes lately, especially since recent headline-grabbing million dollar apartment deals involve such an apartment type. An example is this over 30 year old maisonette in Bukit Timah.

But these HDB maisonettes that have crossed the million dollar mark are not just those in central locations.

This year we have seen more million dollar apartments in less central locations, with 16 sold in the first nine months. Of these apartments, five are HDB maisonettes located in Tampines, Pasir Ris and Bukit Batok. Punggol also saw its first $1 million HDB resale at $1.198 million.

What are HDB houses?

Unlike typical HDB apartments, HDB maisonettes are two-story apartments and feature high ceilings.

In general, their size can vary from around 1,540 square feet to 1,760 square feet. Some of them are even as spacious as 2,140 square feet!

First built in the 1980s, HDB finally stopped building HDB townhouses in 1995 when executive condos were introduced for the sandwich class.

They are therefore now among the rarest types of HDB flats, along with jumbo flats, and are only available on the resale market.

At the same time, HDB maisonettes have a newer counterpart in the form of HDB loft units, such as the million dollar resale loft unit at Punggol.

The current record holder for most expensive HDB resale apartment is also a loft, located at SkyTerrace @ Dawson. It was sold for $1.418 million.

3 reasons why HDB playhouses will remain popular, even with cooling measures

Limited supply

HDB maisonettes are among the largest HDB apartments after jumbo flats. With units ranging from approximately 1,540 square feet to 1,760 square feet, they are perfect for those looking for more space.

On the other hand, as the maisonettes are no longer being built, there is a limited supply on the market.

And with new apartments being built and entering the resale market after the minimum occupancy period (MOP), the proportion of resale apartments that are maisonettes is decreasing. This makes them even more coveted as people demand more and more space these days.

Also, new apartments built nowadays are not as spacious as maisonettes. The largest BTO apartments include five-room apartments and three-generation (3Gen) apartments, with a floor area of ​​approximately 1,216 square feet to 1,290 square feet.


The loft units are probably BTO’s largest apartments, with the S$1.418 million Dawson Apartment covering 1,313 square feet. The first million dollar resale loft in Punggol is even more spacious at 1,603 square feet.

At the same time, lofts are becoming rare, with the last lots launched in BTO in 2009 with the SkyTerrace @ Dawson project.

More space, at a cheaper price

Just like other types of HDB apartments, HDB maisonettes are relatively affordable in terms of psf price.

For example, the negotiated psf price over the last year (October 7, 2021 to October 7, 2022) for these apartments ranged from around $450 psf to $770 psf in central locations such as Bishan and Queenstown. For suburban areas such as Jurong and Tampines, the negotiated psf price ranged from $350 psf to $630 psf.

By comparison, leasehold condominiums of comparable size and built around the same time period (1980 to 1995) have traded between $900 and $1,300 over the past year.

Of course, one of the main reasons for the higher premium of condos is the availability of facilities. But for those who value space above all else, the cheaper price of playhouses may be a more compelling factor.

That’s why we’ve seen buyers willing to pay top dollar for a unit. Even though some of us scoff at these buyers for shelling out so much for social housing, for these buyers it makes sense to cross the psychological barrier of a million dollars to secure it.

Even though the unit is located in suburbs like Bukit Batok and Pasir Ris, proximity to the city center may not matter as much as space.


It may also be because the MRT network has greatly improved connectivity around the island over the years, especially with Downtown Line and Thomson-East Coast Line. For example, residents of Tampines can now also rely on the Downtown Line, in addition to the East-West Line.

However, with the 15-month wait imposed on private owners (PPOs) and ex-PPOs during the latest round of cooling measures, we are likely to see fewer million dollar deals (at least in the short term). those homeowners, who are more likely to be willing (and have the money) to pay such a high price for an apartment, won’t be entering the HDB resale market anytime soon unless they downgrade to a resale apartment of 4 rooms or smaller.

And with rising interest rates and other borrowing restrictions, the home loan people can take out will be lower, reducing their budget. Instead of having a budget of $900,000 for a playhouse, they can reduce it to $850,000.

Nevertheless, the demand for HDB maisonettes will persist. This is mostly due to their larger size and rarity, and it is a more affordable option than private properties.

Feel like a landed property

Due to the two-story layout, HDB maisonettes exude the ambience of land ownership, which owners can enjoy without paying the price of private land ownership.

On the first floor of a typical HDB maisonette are the common areas, such as the kitchen, living room, and dining room. The bedrooms are on the second floor. It also means that common areas are separated from bedrooms, providing more privacy, especially for those who frequently host friends and family.

(If you manage to get a playhouse, it also means you’re less likely to have prying relatives peeking into your rooms during Chinese New Year, or your friends invading your room and sitting on the bed when you you know it.)

The “landed” aspect is reinforced by the staircase that you have to climb to access your room, or go down for meals and outings.

At the same time, living in a maisonette means owners don’t have to deal with the hassle of living in landed property.

After all, landed properties are generally more difficult to maintain than non-landed houses. Unless they live on the top floor, they don’t have to worry about a roof leak. The apartment is also less prone to pest infestations unless it is a ground floor unit.

This article first appeared on 99.co.

READ ALSO: Bukit Timah maisonette sold for a record $1.28 million, the highest on the estate