Before there was such a thing as BTO flats, blocks of HDB flats were built BEFORE they were sold. Sometime in the 1990s, there was a massive oversupply of flats in Woodlands and Yishun. In response to the oversupply, HDB combined the many of the unsold units into jumbo flats, effectively halving the number of unsold flats. Jumbo flats can also be found in Jurong East.
More about Jumbo HDB flats
As mentioned above, jumbo flats can be found mainly in Woodlands, Yishun and Jurong East. These flats are made up of two flats (typically 3-room flats) combined into one. You can think of them as an experimental public housing unit for the sandwiched class [pretty much like DBSS flats, or Executive Condominiums(EC)].
Jumbo HDB flats range from between 1,442 to over 2,000 square feet (sqft). While these are huge apartments by HDB standards, not a lot of space is dedicated to bedrooms. In contrast, there is an abundance of common space because of the combination of two living/dining areas and a kitchen. That said, many jumbo flat owners decide to partition the additional living area into an extra bedroom.
While they are rare (there’s only a total 485 such units in Yishun and Woodlands combined), a number of Jumbo flats are currently listed for sale on 99.co.
Why would you want a Jumbo HDB flat?
For starters, look at how huge they are on the inside. We’re half expecting them to strike an iceberg and sink. Jumbo HDB flats offer a range of advantages you won’t find in traditional HDB properties:
A compromise between getting more space, and having to buy a pricey condo
Yes, there are already 5-room and executive HDB flats, but these sometimes don’t offer enough space for extended families, especially for three generations under one roof. A jumbo flat would give flat owners 15 to 30% greater floor area than the biggest regular HDB flats.
If you were to look anywhere else for an apartment of such a size, the only choice would be a condo, which is too big a step up in terms of per square foot price when you’re talking about 1,500 sq ft. While a 2,066 sq ft jumbo flat in Woodlands is listed for an average asking price of $380 psf, an equivalent leasehold condo in the cheapest Outside of Central Region can easily cost double or more.
So if space is your main concern, jumbo flats present a viable alternative to going private. Remember, these are HDB properties, so you can use an HDB loan rather than taking on a private bank loan (that means you can get up to 90% financing).
Opportunity for an affordable family home
Jumbo HDB flats are answer to the prayers of big families. The whole kampong can now live under the same roof. Best of all, if you and your parents and/on in-laws share the cost of the jumbo flat, the financial commitment for both parties is fairly manageable. Every member of the household can have a space to call their own, a benefit usually enjoyed by those living in landed properties.
Themed homes, which are tough to do in most other HDB units
If you want a themed home, such as French Cottage, Industrial, Shabby Chic, etc., there’s only so much you can do within a regular HDB unit. The only consistent theme in most HDB flats seems to be claustrophobic-chic.
With jumbo HDB flats, the sky’s the limit. With all that space at your disposal, you can pretty much have a different theme in the each living area.
Good rental income and potential returns
Jumbo flats aren’t just aesthetically pleasing; it provides a unique opportunity for rental play. For instance, if your children eventually move out and vacate what’s essentially an entire standalone unit, you have the flexibility to market the HDB as a “whole-unit” rental by re-partitioning the area between the original units with a mandatory door adjoining the two units that can remain closed. This arrangement enables you to net a stable rental income without having to move out or sacrificing privacy (when renting out individual rooms).
In addition, and much like the million-dollar maisonettes, the scarcity of jumbo HDB flats could possibly give them some resistance to downturns. If the seller’s agent markets the flat correctly and the flat itself is in good condition or tastefully renovated, there’s almost always a pool of interested buyers.
Can I create my own Jumbo HDB flat?
Yes, you can! For resale flats, HDB has a Conversion Scheme whereby eligible buyers/owners can apply to join up two existing flats on either of the below two conditions:
- You currently own a 3-room HDB flat (or smaller) and want to buy an adjoining 3-room or smaller resale flat. The two title deeds will be merged and only one unit number will be retained.
- You do not own any flat and are looking to by two adjoining units of 3-room or smaller resale flats. The title deeds for the two flats will be merged and only one unit number will be retained.
In either instance, the two merged flats (i.e. a converted flat) cannot be split up again into individual units. Single buyers, as well as joint singles, are not eligible for this scheme. The buyers must also consist of at least one Singaporean Citizen aged 21 or above, and apply for the scheme together with either:
- Spouse and children (if any)
- Parents and siblings (if any)
- Children under you legal custody, care and control (if widowed and divorced)
Would you live in a Jumbo HDB flat? Tell us in the comments section or on our Facebook community page.
If you found this article helpful, 99.co recommends HDB Concessionary Loan: Know your eligibility + How to apply for HLE and Can your HDB flat really appreciate after it’s 50 years old?
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