Record $1.418m Dawson flat: Was there really any better alternative?

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

SkyTerrace @ Dawson just set a new record for the most expensive resale flat, at $1.418 million. That begs the question: Is the price unreasonable?

As some readers are bound to point out, $1.418 million could fetch the buyer a condo unit – and that wouldn’t come with the grab bag of HDB restrictions. As it turns out, (just like the $1.4 million Henderson HDB purchase) comparable alternatives are few and far between: 

About the $1.418 million Dawson flat

The unit is between the 37th and 39th floor of SkyTerrace @ Dawson, and is a loft penthouse at 122 sqm (over 1,310 sq ft) with 5.4 metre high ceilings. There are only 26 such units in the development. Do note though that it does actually “only” have 103 sqm (1,109 sq ft) of internal floor area, as the void space over the high ceiling is counted in the 122 sqm.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

SkyTerrace is located in Queenstown, about 8 minutes from the Queenstown MRT station (East West Line). As you’d expect from this mature, there are many amenities nearby – from Dawson Place in nearby, to Anchorpoint Mall that’s just a really close drive. 

This is a combination of every element that makes an HDB flat expensive:

  • Almost fresh out of the Minimum Occupancy Period, as SkyTerrace was completed in 2016. Lease decay is negligible, and everything is quite shiny and new. 
  • Mature location of Queenstown, well known for producing million-dollar flats 
  • Less than a 10-minute drive to Orchard Road 
  • High ceiling in the living area 
  • Rare flat type, as there are only 26 such loft penthouses 
  • Multiple schools within a one-kilometre radius 
  • High floor for the greenery landed views

But is all of this enough to justify a condo-level price? We made a comparison with some nearby private properties, to see if there are viable alternatives: 

Disclaimer: alternatives were found through actual transactions that occurred. There may be more options available in the market that were not shown in the transaction database, as such, they would not appear in this article.

Closest in terms of price, size, and age 

Project Price Size (Sqft) $PSF Date Address
Alexis $1,350,000 1,119 $1,206 Sept 27-21 356 ALEXANDRA ROAD #05

Source: URA

The most similar resale condo transaction, in terms of price and size, was a unit at Alexis. This was a $1.35 million unit, with a size of around 1,119 sq. ft. However, we consider this an unfair comparison: while the unit at Alexis is also a penthouse, it is a 2 bedroom + study, whereas the unit at SkyTerrace is a 3 bedroom loft penthouse. 

That said this particular unit does have a roof terrace and a small private pool. The Alexis is a low-rise development though, so the comparisons here are really hardly similar.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Other than this one transaction, there is nothing in the immediate vicinity with a closer match in size and price. Simply put, the buyers of the SkyTerrace flat would have had to make massive compromises in living space, if they wanted any condo at all that’s nearby. 

How about three-bedders (850 sq. ft. and above), with similar price and age?

The following are what we found, and again, most of them come from Alexis:

Project Price Size (Sqft) $PSF Date Address
Alexis $1,000,000 904 $1,106 June 29, 21 356 ALEXANDRA ROAD #06
Alexis $1,100,000 936 $1,175 Jan 20, 22 356 ALEXANDRA ROAD #06
Alexis $1,345,000 1098 $1,225 Nov 19, 21 356 ALEXANDRA ROAD #05
Alexis $1,350,000 1119 $1,206 Sept, 27, 21 356 ALEXANDRA ROAD #05
Alexis $1,400,000 958 $1,461 Dec 3, 21 356 ALEXANDRA ROAD #06
Seasuites $1,450,000 980 $1,480 April 22, 22 252 PASIR PANJANG ROAD #01
Normanton Park $1,466,000 883 $1,661 July 18, 21 45 NORMANTON PARK #24

Source: URA

These still aren’t good alternatives as none of them are similar 3 bedroom options. Again, Alexis is a low-rise condo, which doesn’t command the kind of view that the SkyTerrace flat has. Its surroundings are also, to be blunt, a lot less pretty: you’re mostly looking out at car showrooms and some trading companies. 

Seasuites does have the benefit of being located nearly directly across from an MRT station (Haw Par Villa) – but this is a boutique condo, with only 52 units.

While that’s more exclusive, the buyers would have to contend with much higher maintenance fees; and probably a more volatile price upon resale. Most people wouldn’t consider it to be as good as a location as SkyTerrace @ Dawson either, so that’s probably a downgrade there.

Normanton Park is further from the MRT station (you’d probably use the bus in front of the condo to get to One North MRT); and long with Sea Suites, it’s quite far off from the same Queenstown area. You do get the advantage of a ton of facilities here, if having 3 bedrooms isn’t as important to you.

So overall their units are much smaller, and not a very good match in terms of location.

What if we ignore size, and just find comparably new developments? 

Project Price Size (Sqft) $PSF Date Address
Kent Ridge Hill Residences $1,467,180 797 $1,842 Aug 7, 21 66A SOUTH BUONA VISTA ROAD #04
Normanton Park $1,466,000 883 $1,661 July 18, 21 45 NORMANTON PARK #24
Kent Ridge Hill Residences $1,463,000 786 $1,862 June 14, 21 68 SOUTH BUONA VISTA ROAD #01
Kent Ridge Hill Residences $1,458,000 797 $1,830 June 30, 21 66A SOUTH BUONA VISTA ROAD #03
Normanton Park $1,450,750 829 $1,750 July 29, 21 49 NORMANTON PARK #12
Seasuites $1,450,000 980 $1,480 April 22, 22 252 PASIR PANJANG ROAD #01
Commonwealth Towers $1,450,000 753 $1,924 Nov 10, 21 232 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE #30
Margaret Ville $1,450,000 700 $2,072 March 8, 22 20 MARGARET DRIVE #06
Kent Ridge Hill Residences $1,441,750 775 $1,860 Jan 22, 22 68 SOUTH BUONA VISTA ROAD #04
Commonwealth Towers $1,438,000 700 $2,055 Sept 17, 21 232 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE #43
Kent Ridge Hill Residences $1,434,837 743 $1,932 July 8, 21 66 SOUTH BUONA VISTA ROAD #04
Commonwealth Towers $1,430,000 753 $1,898 Oct 4, 21 232 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE #20
One Holland Village Residences $1,428,718 484 $2,950 May 29, 22 1 HOLLAND VILLAGE WAY #28
Commonwealth Towers $1,420,000 700 $2,030 May 13, 22 232 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE #42
Commonwealth Towers $1,420,000 753 $1,885 April 8, -22 232 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE #17
Stirling Residences $1,410,000 689 $2,047 Feb 10, 22 21 STIRLING ROAD #09
Commonwealth Towers $1,408,000 753 $1,869 Sept 24, 21 230 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE #12
Queens Peak $1,408,000 775 $1,817 30-May 30, 22 1 DUNDEE ROAD #14
Kent Ridge Hill Residences $1,404,225 775 $1,812 Sept 18, 21 52 SOUTH BUONA VISTA ROAD #04

This opens up many more alternatives. Commonwealth Towers, in Alexandra, would probably be the strongest contender. It’s just six minutes from the Queenstown MRT station and is the most comparable to SkyTerrace @ Dawson in terms of location. 

One Holland Village is another stand-out: some would consider $1.4 million a reasonable price to live in the famed Holland V lifestyle hub – especially with the new upgrades to the area.

It would also appeal from an investment perspective if you’re looking to rent out to expats. Keep in mind though, that this is a 484 sq ft 1 bedroom unit, so again there’s really no comparison here at all.

You can see that all this deviates quite far, from what are probably the family buyers of SkyTerrace @ Dawson. 

Okay, so we’ll look for similar-sized units, but ignore age 

Project Price Size (Sqft) $PSF Date Address
Palm Green $1,240,000 1,109 $1,118 Aug 18, 21 481 PASIR PANJANG ROAD #03
Dover Parkview $1,280,000 1,324 $967 Dec 9, 21 38 DOVER RISE #01
Palm Green $1,300,000 1,130 $1,150 July 16, 21 481 PASIR PANJANG ROAD #04
One-North Residences $1,342,800 1,119 $1,200 Dec 6, 21 7 ONE NORTH GATEWAY #01
One-North Residences $1,350,000 1,109 $1,218 March 23, 22 9 ONE NORTH GATEWAY #01
Alexis $1,350,000 1,119 $1,206 Sept 27, 21 356 ALEXANDRA ROAD #05
The Foliage $1,400,000 1,141 $1,227 June 23, 21 370 PASIR PANJANG ROAD #04
Bayville Condominium $1,400,000 1,249 $1,121 July 2, 21 42 SOUTH BUONA VISTA ROAD #02
N.A. $1,400,000 1,475 $949 Dec 22, 21 381 PASIR PANJANG ROAD #04
Queens $1,420,000 1,227 $1,157 Aug 10, 21 10 STIRLING ROAD #01
Heritage View $1,440,000 1,163 $1,239 June 25, 21 10 DOVER RISE #17
One-North Residences $1,450,000 1,109 $1,308 Feb 4, 22 9 ONE NORTH GATEWAY #08
Heritage View $1,450,000 1,163 $1,247 Jan 3, 22 6 DOVER RISE #15
Queens $1,450,000 1,227 $1,182 Aug 10, 21 16 STIRLING ROAD #01
Bayville Condominium $1,452,000 1,249 $1,163 Nov 25, 21 42 SOUTH BUONA VISTA ROAD #03
Heritage View $1,468,000 1,195 $1,229 June 30, 21 6 DOVER RISE #06

Palm Green is 8.1 km away, so while it’s viable, it mostly means buying elsewhere (Pasir Panjang). The same goes with The Foliage. This would ignore the key benefit of being in an old, well-developed area. 

Heritage View might be an option. Like most older condos, it was built a lot larger – but some might consider the MRT to be too far for comfort, with One North MRT being 13 minutes on foot.

Likewise, buyers could consider Dover Parkview too especially since these older developments have great facilities for the family. In this case, 4 tennis courts, lawn spaces, table tennis, and a KTV lounge are just part of the appeal of such a development.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Some buyers may be swayed by the Queens condo, where you can find a 2-bedroom unit PES at 1,227 sq ft. This is perhaps an even better location convenience-wise as you are just next to Queenstown MRT, and a short walk away from Anchorpoint and Ikea. That said, the last time prices were within a comparable range, was a year ago in August 2021.

What if we compared it against three-bedder condo units all across Singapore?

Project Price Size (Sqft) $PSF Date Address
The Skywoods $1,418,000 1012 $1,401 Nov 18, 21 3 DAIRY FARM HEIGHTS #02
The Gardens At Bishan $1,418,000 1152 $1,231 Sept 21, 21 1 SIN MING WALK #09
Residences Botanique $1,418,000 1152 $1,231 Aug 4, 21 30 YIO CHU KANG ROAD #03
A Treasure Trove $1,418,000 1206 $1,176 Feb 11, 22 54 PUNGGOL WALK #02
Grandeur 8 $1,418,000 1227 $1,156 July 5, 21 18 ANG MO KIO CENTRAL 3 #13
Bishan Park Condominium $1,418,000 1270 $1,116 April 14, 22 18 SIN MING WALK #06

Source: URA

There are plenty of condos that could offer the same size, at the $1.418 million mark. Due to how long the list is, we’ll only include those that transacted at the same $1.418 million dollar price tag.

Some of the transactions we saw such as People’s Park Complex – happen to be niche options that are not ideal for own-stay use. 

Other options also tend to be in fringe or less developed regions, as in the case of Simei Green, or Melville Park. As with the locations, these can actually be cheaper than the $1.4 million mark. Some can offer a bigger space too, with facilities – as long as you are okay with the tradeoff of location.

The good news is, for those who aren’t particular where they live, you can get a family-sized resale condo for around $1.4 million – even in 2022. But not near an area like SkyTerrace @ Dawson.

Comparing against high-floor units in general 

Project Price Size (Sqft) $PSF Date Address
International Plaza $1,180,000 1,033 $1,142 Aug 23, 21 10 ANSON ROAD #40
The Rochester Residences $1,260,000 1,023 $1,232 Dec 10, 21 33 ROCHESTER DRIVE #35
Queens $1,300,000 915 $1,421 Sept 24, 21 10 STIRLING ROAD #38
International Plaza $1,300,000 1,033 $1,258 March 24, 22 10 ANSON ROAD #45
Trevista $1,380,000 926 $1,491 June 22, 21 21 LORONG 3 TOA PAYOH #36
Trevista $1,450,000 915 $1,585 Dec 3, 21 25 LORONG 3 TOA PAYOH #37
The Sail @ Marina Bay $1,460,000 861 $1,695 Sept 3, 21 6 MARINA BOULEVARD #44

Source: URA

Let’s just say that at this price point and at such a high floor, none on this list are 3 bedroom units even though some of the sizes may suggest to be so.

International Plaza doesn’t really compare well. These units are a handful of apartments (210 units) in a 50-storey office building; and this isn’t the kind of location family home buyers would pick (maybe a landlord might). 

Other than that, there are some interesting names here. 

The Sail @ Marina Bay should raise some eyebrows; most wouldn’t expect to see a CBD-area, high-floor condo make this list. Of course, at 861 sq ft this is a 2 bedroom unit. It is, however, just one transaction – so whoever bought it may have just gotten lucky. 

Trevista would probably be the strongest choice, if you are looking for a high floor unit. The transacted units are still smaller, but it has a strong location, and Toa Payoh is mature just like Queenstown. It’s also just a 5-minute walk to Braddell MRT, making it one of the better-located condos. 

Overall, SkyTerrace @ Dawson has few alternatives

While the price may seem high in the context of HDB flats, it’s important to remember this wasn’t a regular 5-room unit. It’s in one of the most desirable estates, is new, and is a loft penthouse; in light of that, $1.4 million may not be as excessive as it seems. As you can see for a 3 bedroom unit in said location, you really don’t have many places that are comparable.

Even if they had turned to the private market and paid the same price, the buyers would have to compromise on size or location to get the same deal. 

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.