Singapore: Design, Build and Sell Scheme – Rent a Room, Property for Buy, Sale, Invest

What is DBSS?

The Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) was introduced in 2005 by the Singaporean Housing and Development Board (HDB). Flats built under this scheme are developed by private developers, but designed for public housing. Meant to offer a greater variety and far better designs, DBSS flats are positioned in great locations – generally, in mature estates.

As a result of criticism regarding the ability to afford such a project, July 2011 came with a suspension of the land sales for the thirteen DBSS sites the government had launched since 2005. After that, the scheme was held under review until March 2014, when HDB’s first DBSS project was placed on the market. Developed and completed in 2009 by Sim Lian Group, The Premiere features flats located along Tampines Avenue 6 that were successfully placed on the resale market, having already found buyers. These flats are subject to the new housing board regulations, which require both sellers and buyers to first agree on a price before receiving professional valuation approved by the Housing and Development Board, as opposed to having the unit valued and then settling on a COV (Cash-over valuation).

In the first part of 2014, two 5-room DBSS will be sold for SGD 671,000 and SGD 699,000, the prices a staggering contrast from the original prices ranging from SGD 310,000 to SGD 450,000 in 2006. Similarly, a 4-room DBSS flat will be sold for SGD 582,000. The difference between the prices of DBSS flats at their beginning and what flat owners ask for in 2014 is roughly 60 percent. The highest online listing of The Premiere properties go up to SGD 780,000.

Specialists suggest that many owners are pushing the limit and testing the market in order to determine the buyers’ willingness to accept their proposed prices. In addition, it is a common assessment that the DBSS scheme offers better quality housing than normal HDB flats, which enables sellers to feel entitled to raise the price.

Regarding DBSS construction, the developers (pre-approved by the HDB) are the ones responsible for the entire process, including, but not limited to planning, design and building, and also selling of the flats to eligible buyers. The eligibility rules, terms and restrictions are similar to those applicable to regular HDB flats. However, the design of housing property under this scheme will need to have open access to common properties, making swimming pools, tennis courts and similar facilities impossible features.

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