HDB Prime apartment or “Ulu” condominium? Which one to buy with 800k


HDB Prime apartment or “Ulu” condominium? Which one to buy with 800k

For many Singaporeans, owning private property is a dream or maybe even a goal in life. But once the possibility of buying a condominium is at your fingertips, doubt can arise: is a condominium really worth it?

Indeed, even the cheapest condo units cost at least $ 600,000 to $ 800,000. With that kind of money, you can easily afford a very spacious HDB apartment in a prime location, like in Queenstown or even in the CBD (ahem, Pinnacle @ Duxton).

So which is the best choice? Much depends on your personal priorities and preferences, but to help you decide, we’ve done a comparison of the choices available if you have a new budget of around $ 800,000 to $ 1 million.

Prime HDB Apartments

Unlike condos, whose price is generally based on their distance from the city, HDB locations are classified according to the maturity of the domain. HDB apartments in mature properties are those with very accessible locations, usually within walking distance of an MRT station and / or a large shopping center.

For this article, we’re defining top-notch HDB apartments that tick all of the above boxes and are also reasonably close to the central area. Think of high-profile HDB projects like Pinnacle @ Duxton and Skyville @ Dawson which are known to have million dollar deals.

These are the most sought after HDB apartments fetching the highest prices due to their convenience.

With a budget of up to $ 1 million, you should be able to find an apartment in a fairly good location. Here is an overview of recent prices for top-notch HDB apartments sold:


Size (4 pcs)

Average price

Remaining lease

Boon Keng Road


$ 695,000

75 years

Cantonment path


$ 958,000

89 years old

Dawson Road


$ 800,000

94 years old

Farrer Park Path


$ 675,000

83 years old

Strathmore Avenue


$ 700,000

78 years old

Dr Telok Blangah


$ 468,000

56 years old

Source: HDB

Entry-level condominiums

With $ 800,000 to $ 1 million, you could also afford to buy a private condo. The only thing is that it won’t be as spacious as a 4 bedroom apartment and won’t be as conveniently located (see above). Here are some examples of 2 bedroom condominiums in the Central Outer Region (ROC) costing $ 1 million or less:

Related article: 21 Cheap Freehold Condos in Singapore Under 600k

Prime HDB vs. ‘Ulu’ Condo: What to Consider When Choosing Between the Two

Ultimately, it all comes down to your lifestyle and what you value most.

First HDB

Less than first-rate condominiums


Central location

Bigger size for the price

Low S&CC fees

Private facilities

Connectivity will improve over time

The inconvenients

Resale value uncertain

High maintenance costs

Smaller size for the price

1. What is your “ulu” tolerance?

The easy access to the central region certainly has its advantages. Some of these top-notch HDB estates are a short bus ride from the city center, have several supermarkets and shops in the area, and enjoy a range of dining options from hawker centers to high-end restaurants. .

Yet despite all of our complaints about the location, the reality is that Singapore is a small island with world-class infrastructure. Even the more ‘ulu’ areas like Woodlands, Yishun and Punggol are within an hour’s MRT from downtown – and with the construction of more MRT lines, connectivity will only improve.

For example, the Maysprings condominium was located opposite the Bukit Panjang LRT station when it was built in 1998. Today, with the Downtown line, residents enjoy an easy 4-minute walk to the station. MRT Bukit Panjang and can reach Bugis in 35 minutes. The district also has two shopping centers and a park.

Likewise, while Tampines is well outside the central region, it is a large and well-developed area where you can even find a healthy dose of amenities and even nature. During the year 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to work from home has also helped to highlight the benefits of decentralization.

2. How much space do you need?

The problem with properties on the outskirts of town and in the city center is that the closer you get to the city center, the more expensive and smaller the units. This means that if you want to stay in a prime location, you can bet your house size will be smaller than elsewhere.

If you live alone or with just one other partner, a 2 bedroom condo just might be more than enough. However, if you are a couple with children or planning to start a family, it may be too tight and a more spacious HDB apartment may be more comfortable.

3. Other financial considerations

Condominiums’ biggest selling point is their exclusivity and private facilities: barbecues by pools, gymnasiums, tennis courts, manicured gardens or even cafes accessible only to residents. But these frills aren’t free – you actually have to pay a monthly retention fee for them ($ 200- $ 400 + per month).

HDB apartments also have a service and maintenance fee, but they are much cheaper and usually less than $ 100 per month.

Of course there are other financial considerations like investment potential etc but for that it is a box of worms for another day. We assume that you are shopping for a home, not an investment property.

That said, it should be noted that top notch HDB apartments were once known for their ‘lottery effect’, because if you manage to get one through a BTO launch, you are likely to make a big profit if you decide to do so. sell a few years later.

However, National Development Minister Desmond Lee recently said top-notch HDB apartments may face resale restrictions in the future, which means a likely end of the trend.

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This article was written by Audrey A. She can’t wait to move into her own place so that she can finally have a cat (or two) and an espresso machine to fuel her love for flat whites. For now, she is saving and dreams of her next trip.


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