Back in the good old 90s, HDB flats in far-flung estates with fewer amenities were suffering from an oversupply. This was before the introduction of BTO flats, so flats were built before they were put on sale. The general inaccessibility of these estates did not help the sales of the HDB flats.
To “reduce” the number of unsold units and to entice home seekers to buy HDB flats, the Board would combine two adjacent units into one huge unit, known today as a jumbo flat.
Later, HDB jumbo flats were launched in mature estates too, including more centralised areas like Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, and Hougang, as well as the more remote estates like Bedok, Jurong East, Pasir Ris and Tampines.
A combination of a 3-room and 4-room flat, jumbo flats can easily stretch over 2,000 square feet. Without hacking down walls to create larger rooms, that’s at least six to seven rooms, with spacious common areas and even a balcony or small courtyard.
So apart from space, what else can you get from a HDB jumbo flat?
1. Great space-price ratio
Homes in Singapore are shrinking in size and rising in costs. If you have an extended family, space will be a huge concern. While there are 5-room and executive HDB flat options, these barely have enough space for multi-generational families. Meanwhile, a jumbo flat offers you 15-30% more floor area than even the largest regular HDB units.
Unless you dive into the exorbitant private property market where prices for units above 1500 square feet start from a little over $1.5 million (and typically in the OCR), it is virtually impossible for you to find any property of this size at HDB prices.
Since jumbo flats are HDB units, you can also get a much more attractive and affordable loan from HDB, with a loan-to-value (LTV) of up to 90%. This means paying less upfront! So if you are pressed for more space, jumbo flats are a far more affordable alternative to private property.
2. A size that fits all
Unless you live in a landed house, it is unlikely you can fit everyone in a multi-generational family comfortably in a regular-sized HDB unit. You can avoid unnecessary friction from conflicting lifestyle habits with a jumbo flat. By splitting the costs of purchase between more family members, a jumbo unit may work out to be even more financially manageable.
Most importantly, each family member could have their own room or space, which you would be hard pressed to find in a regular HBD unit.
3. Resilient returns
According to The Straits Times, there are only 2,900 jumbo flats left in Singapore, and the government has no plans to construct any more. This means jumbo flats make up roughly 0.29% of the total number of a million HDB flats in Singapore.
Due to their scarcity, jumbo flat prices are resistant to market fluctuations and maintain steady high prices, with anticipated growth, due to the low supply and high demand. Available units are usually sold fast.
4. Good rental opportunities
On the same note, HDB jumbo flats are great for potential rental income. For instance, if part of the family vacates half the jumbo flat, you have the flexibility of renting out a “complete unit”. You can simply reinstate the partition wall between the two original merged units and voila, you have just created your own HDB dual-key apartment.
Now, not only can you enjoy higher rental yields, your privacy remains uncompromised.
5. Room for creativity
In space-scarce Singapore, it’s difficult to truly exercise your creativity and imagination within regular HDB units. With the ample space jumbo flats offer, homeowners literally have more “room” to unleash their creativity and experiment with their ideal designs. With all that space at your disposal, you can even have different themes for each room, build your kids a playhouse or a sandpit, or even create that zen rock garden in your balcony — the sky’s the limit!
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