Pinnacle of HDB flat resales soon?

The Pinnacle@Duxton in Tanjong Pagar, which comprises 1,848 units in seven 50-storey blocks, received overwhelming response at its launch in 2004.
The Pinnacle@Duxton in Tanjong Pagar, which comprises 1,848 units in seven 50-storey blocks, received overwhelming response at its launch in 2004.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

* Units widely expected to fetch high prices * Minimum occupancy period up in December

The first flat from premier Housing Board project Pinnacle@Duxton has hit the market, with its owner obtaining special permission from the authorities to sell the unit.

The four-room flat, with a floor area of 90 sq m and located "above the 20th floor", has been on the market for about a month. But it has already had more than 50 viewings, said Mr Bruce Ang, one of two agents marketing the unit. He said that several "verbal offers" have been received, the highest being $830,000.

The unit is being sold despite the owner not having lived in the unit for five years, which is a legal requirement known as the minimum occupation period (MOP).

Most Pinnacle@Duxton home owners will meet this MOP in December.

But the HDB has allowed the early resale of the unit "with a short deviation from MOP, after considering the flat owners' circumstances", said a spokesman.

A Straits Times check showed there were at least eight other units listed on various property websites. All but one - a five- roomer - are four-room flats.

An agent behind a listing of a 38th-storey four-roomer, Mr Benjamin Tan, said that the owner is "not in a rush to sell", but simply sounding out the market.

Comprising 1,848 units in seven 50-storey blocks, the project in Tanjong Pagar faced overwhelming response at its launch in 2004.

Its four- and five-roomers have long been expected to fetch high resale prices, with National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan himself saying in 2012 that when the Pinnacle@Duxton flats hit the market, "there will be many millionaires there".

In 2004, new four-room flats there cost $289,200 to $380,900. Its five-room flats were priced from $345,100 to $439,400.

Though the resale market has been cooling over the past year, large flats in prime locations are still fetching high prices. Two four-roomers in nearby Tanjong Pagar Plaza went for $730,000 in June and $710,000 in March.

Six five-roomers have been sold in nearby Cantonment Close so far this year, all going for above $800,000.

PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor expects the Pinnacle@Duxton flats to fetch handsome prices in the resale market. "I will not be surprised if people even pay $1 million for a four-room flat there. It's an iconic building in a really good, central location."

But R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng pointed out that the ongoing cooling measures would make it difficult to achieve benchmark prices. "Prices for five-room flats are unlikely to go beyond $850,000, as the mortgage servicing ratio cap is expected to restrain excessively large loans," he said. "Resale competition from other sellers in the locality will also drive prices down."

But that has not stopped agents from aggressively hawking their services to residents there. Pinnacle@Duxton residents said property agents have been going door-to-door and calling them at home, particularly in the last few months. Namecards and fliers offering to help sell their flats have also been left in letterboxes and at individual units, said residents.

But for many of them, selling is the furthest thing on their minds. "We are not planning to sell. It's difficult to find such a central location elsewhere. We can easily jog or cycle to Marina Bay," said offshore diver Muhd Shaifullah Latif, 30, who lives in a 28th-floor four-room flat with his wife.

Many are also reluctant to uproot because of their children. "My kids go to school in this area, so moving would (disrupt) their schooling," said housewife and mother-of-two Joanne Lee, 34, who lives in a five-roomer there.

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