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Million-dollar flat hot spots: Bishan vs Toa Payoh

Million-dollar flat hot spots: Bishan vs Toa Payoh
Bishan is not considered a prime location under the PLH model but is popular among home hunters who are willing to pay more for resale HDB flats there.
PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao

Last week, a resale flat in Bishan’s Natura Loft DBSS project made headlines for transacting a whopping $1.36 million. It broke the record set by another flat in the same project around three months ago, when it was sold for $1.295 million.

But Bishan isn’t the only estate that’s broken its own record. A nearby estate, Toa Payoh, has done it too.

Most expensive resale flat in Toa Payoh sold for $1.24m

A 5-room resale flat in The Peak @ Toa Payoh was just sold for $1.24 million, breaking the previous record of $1.238 million for a flat of the same type in the estate back in August. It’s also from the same project.

This is despite the record-breaking flat being located on a lower floor, between level 38 and 40, compared to the previous record holder that’s situated on the top floor (42th storey).

Still, it’s a DBSS flat, and one that’s located on a high floor. Jeremy Tan, the agent who brokered the deal, shares with us that he received several enquiries after he started advertising it, eventually closing the deal the day after.

ALSO READ: New Toa Payoh, Bishan BTO flats oversubscribed by multiple folds

“I shared details like the video and floorplan. And I was ready to conduct an onsite video or Zoom presentation on the first weekend to accommodate multiple groups due to safe management measures and restrictions. In the end, there were two parties that were serious and showed more interest. One party came to view at night, and it was closed on the first viewing.”

Just like the sellers of the Bishan flat, the sellers of this Toa Payoh flat decided to put it on sale as they were planning to upgrade to a private property.

From location to rarity: Factors that make people want to spend $1 million for a flat

Jeremy, an associate group director at Propnex and founder of JeremyTan.Co, shares four factors that mainly drive people to pay such a high price for public housing: location, proximity to schools, size and rarity.

Other than Bishan and Toa Payoh , estates with million-dollar flats include Central Area, Bukit Merah, Queenstown and Kallang.

When we look at these estates, they’re all mature estates that are centrally located. Not only are they closer to the city centre, but they’re also brimming with amenities. The older estates are also where you can find bigger and rare types of flats such as executive apartments and DBSS flats, which HDB no longer builds.

ALSO READ: Toa Payoh 5-room flat fetches $880,000, highest in the area this year

“It is not possible to find a comparable condo of a similar size with three bedrooms and superb views with the same price range in the same district,” adds Jeremy.

As for what makes Toa Payoh so popular, Jeremy adds, “Toa Payoh is well known for its centralised location, close proximity to town, amenities and good schools. It’s getting more popular with younger demographics over the past 10 to 15 years since the injection of newer flats like The Peak and Toa Payoh Crest.”

Bishan vs Toa Payoh: Comparing the million-dollar flat hot spots

The thing is, Bishan and Toa Payoh aren’t as central and close to the city centre as compared to the Central Area and Bukit Merah. Nevertheless, they have a couple of plus points that make them more desirable places to call home.

Proximity to schools

The number of schools available in Bishan and Toa Payoh is one reason why it’s so popular among families with kids. And they’re not just any other schools; they’re the ones that families are willing to move houses for to increase admission chances. (Let’s be honest, most people in Singapore don’t buy the “every good school is a good school” concept.)

Schools in Bishan include Ai Tong School, Catholic High School, Raffles Institution, and Raffles Girls’ Secondary School.

In contrast, schools in Toa Payoh include CHIJ Toa Payoh, Pei Chun Public School and St Andrew’s School.

Given the number of big-name schools in Bishan, we’d say when it comes to school proximity, Bishan has an edge over Toa Payoh (or any other estates, except Bukit Timah).

Proximity to the city centre

Both Bishan and Toa Payoh are pretty centrally located. They’re both served by the North-South Line, allowing residents to reach town in just a few stops without switching lines. From Bishan, you can reach Dhoby Ghaut in seven stops. Conversely, from Toa Payoh, you can reach there in five stops.

For those who work in the CBD, it’s just a short commute from both estates (around a 20-minute drive) as well.

But if we’re being picky here, we’ll say Toa Payoh wins in this aspect.

ALSO READ: Designs on Asia: An old Toa Payoh flat gets a retro makeover for a young, yoga-loving couple in Singapore

Price appreciation

Bishan and Toa Payoh flats generally fetch higher prices, especially for 4-room flats and bigger. Since we’re talking about million-dollar flats here, we’ll focus more on the 5-room and executive flats.

Looking at the past transactions of 5-room flats in both estates over the past five years, Toa Payoh flats have a higher price appreciation of 15.61 per cent as compared to 1.89 per cent for Bishan flats.

Let’s take a closer look at the DBSS projects in both estates, which account for a large number of the million-dollar flats in both areas.

Interestingly, 5-room flats at Natura Loft have seen a higher price appreciation of 22.04 per cent over the past five years, as compared to 10.57 per cent for 5-room flats in The Peak @ Toa Payoh (which entered the resale market in 2017).

As for the executive flats, flats in Bishan generally have a higher price appreciation of 8.89 per cent over the past five years. In contrast, flats in Toa Payoh have seen a general price drop of 2.26 per cent. This may be due to the older age of the flats in Toa Payoh, as they’re built in the 1970s and 1980s, as opposed to the Bishan flats that were built in 1980s and 1990s.

Which estate has the highest number of million-dollar flats?

Both Bishan and Toa Payoh have seen several million-dollar flat transactions over the last few years.

According to the HDB resale flat price portal, there were 37 million-dollar transactions in the past year in Bishan. Interestingly, all the 5-room flats come from Natura Loft.

On the other hand, 23 million-dollar transactions were recorded over the same period in Toa Payoh. And likewise, all of the 5-room units are from The Peak.

Bishan or Toa Payoh: Which estate to go for?

If you’re looking to enrol your kid in a popular school, then the obvious answer would be to go for Bishan.

But if you prefer to be closer to town, then our suggestion would be to go for Toa Payoh.

In terms of price appreciation, it depends on the flat type you’re going for — Toa Payoh if you’re going for a 5-room, Bishan if you’re going for a DBSS or an executive flat. Ultimately, it all depends on what you value more.

HDB flats for sale in Bishan

See all listings

275A Bishan Street 24

Singapore 571275 · D20

3 2

1,022 sqft


181 Bishan Street 13

Singapore 570181 · D20

3 2

893 sqft


233 Bishan Street 22

Singapore 570233 · D20

3 2

1,098 sqft


197 Bishan Street 13

Singapore 570197 · D20

3 2

1,302 sqft


24 Sin Ming Road

Singapore 570024 · D20

2 1

700 sqft


313 Shunfu Road

Singapore 570313 · D20

2 2

721 sqft


231 Bishan Street 23

Singapore 570231 · D20


1,572 sqft


164 Bishan Street 13

Singapore 570164 · D20

4 2

1,302 sqft


231 Bishan Street 23

Singapore 570231 · D20

4 3

1,572 sqft


109 Bishan Street 12

Singapore 570109 · D20

3 2

904 sqft


HDB flats for sale in Toa Payoh

See all listings

263 Toa Payoh East

Singapore 310263 · D12

3 2

1,001 sqft


206 Toa Payoh North

Singapore 310206 · D12

3 2

700 sqft


46 Lorong 5 Toa Payoh

Singapore 310046 · D12

3 3

1,345 sqft


80A Lorong 4 Toa Payoh

Singapore 311080 · D12

3 2

1,119 sqft


116 Lorong 2 Toa Payoh

Singapore 310116 · D12


678 sqft


225 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh

Singapore 310225 · D12

2 2

700 sqft


172 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh

Singapore 310172 · D12

4 2

1,335 sqft


79D Toa Payoh Central

Singapore 314079 · D12

3 2

979 sqft


79A Toa Payoh Central

Singapore 311079 · D12

2 2

818 sqft


6 Lorong 7 Toa Payoh

Singapore 310006 · D12


1,302 sqft


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