Despite being public flats, there are subtle ways to shift a little to the “private” side, and that’s by buying corner Housing Development Board (HDB) units.
Corner units are found in both old and new flats, and are the last units on both ends. For old corridor blocks, their main entrances might face the full length of the corridor, while non-corner units’ doors face out towards open air. Newer flats typically follow a point block design and lift landings are located at the centre.
Buying and holding a corner unit can have strategic long term value, as they possess benefits that are hard to put a dollar figure on. Just like how buyers might ask if a unit faces the afternoon or morning sun, the corner unit label often gets them excited.
So what’s so great about corner units?
3 Top Benefits of Corner HDB Units:
Less unwanted foot traffic
A fundamental slice of HDB life is having neighbours or visitors walk past your doors as they head to other units down the corridor. The shuffling of feet or cheerful banter might be occasionally fun, but when it happens multiple times a day, you might wish for some peace and quiet.
Because corner units are the last unit along the corridor, it’s literally impossible for passers-by to walk past. For other corner units that don’t face the corridor, the foot traffic is significantly reduced because anyone not living in those corner units would not walk that direction.
Bigger floor space
Since older corner units extend out into the original corridor pathway, they are also slightly larger in floor area compared to the other units in the same floor.
If you compare the floor plans of a 3-room corridor unit (left) and a 3-room corner unit (right), the latter’s entrance faces the corridor walkway, and the highlighted area shows the extra floor space these owners enjoy.
It may not look like much on the map, but for our 3-room example that little extension is approximately 9.29 sqm, a 13% increase over other non-corner units along the corridor.
That little extra room could be used for a sizeable shoe cabinet, piano, a small garden, or even a cozy corner for pets.
Only 1 immediate neighbour
If there’s anything worse than one neighbour banging on your walls or having a wild karaoke session, it’s having two of these neighbours. Or how about having too many shoes strewn around the corridor?
When you’re living in a corner HDB unit, there’s no chance of having two neighbours. And with only one immediate neighbour, all of these problems are essentially halved!
Do HDB corner units result in a price premium?
Historical price data from HDB does not indicate if a sold flat is a corner unit, and they generally have the same per square foot price as their corridor counterparts. Hence buyers do take into consideration the intangible benefits of corner units, among other factors such as facing, existing renovations and timeline.
HDB Resale Transactions for a 3-Room Flat at Toa Payoh Lorong 1 – Block 158
|MONTH||FLOOR||SIZE (sq ft)||FLAT MODEL||LEASE COMMENCEMENT||RESALE PRICE|
|2016-06||04 TO 06||818||Improved||1972||$353,000|
|2017-03||04 TO 06||818||Improved||1972||$356,888|
|2017-11||10 TO 12||700||Improved||1972||$330,000|
|2018-04||04 TO 06||700||Improved||1972||$313,000|
|2019-03||07 TO 09||700||Improved||1972||$366,000|
|2019-08||04 TO 06||700||Improved||1972||$336,000|
|2019-12||10 TO 12||700||Improved||1972||$310,000|
If we look at the history of transactions for an older HDB block in Toa Payoh, notice that the larger 3-room corner units (818 sq ft) also sold for more ($353,000). However, calculating the price per square foot (psf), corner units were priced at $431 psf, whereas regular corridor units went for $472 psf. In this scenario, corner units were an attractive deal for prospective buyers.
Corner units are highly coveted in the market, mainly because of the fewer numbers available in every block.
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