What Are HDB Loft Units and Is It Illegal to ‘Build’ Your Own Loft in Singapore?

You can say that owning a loft unit is a loft-y aspiration for most Singaporeans (haha, get it?) because loft units in private properties don’t come cheap. Thankfully, however, there’s actually an affordable alternative, HDB loft units. 

 

What Are HDB Loft Units?

HDB loft units are units that come with two storeys and a high ceiling. The living area is typically much bigger than most HDB units. For those who are familiar with executive maisonettes, HDB loft units are the newer and more “evolved” version of maisonettes. 

Related article: Battle of the Big Flats: Maisonette, Jumbo Flat, Executive Flat, 3Gen Flat, 5-Room Flat

 

Maisonettes Vs HDB Loft Units – Are They the Same? 

No, they are not. 

One of the key differences between the maisonette and HDB loft unit is its layout. When you study the floor plan, you’ll notice the bedrooms for maisonette units are all located on the second floor whereas HDB loft units have rooms on both the first and second floor. The floor area on the second floor is also slightly smaller compared to the first floor. 

Another difference is the flat type. You can find HDB loft units in new BTO projects such as Skyville@Dawson and Treelodge@Punggol under the 3Gen flat type. Maisonette units fall under the HDB executive maisonette flat type and are no longer in production.

Related article: 10 HDB Executive Maisonettes Under 650k

 

Why Are HDB Loft Units so Popular?

Like all “special” HDB flat types, HDB loft units are very popular among homebuyers. 

Competition for HDB lofts are also especially stiff because supply is scarce – not many units are built. As such, it is no wonder why HDB loft units are priced at a premium, usually above $600,000. One such unit in Punggol was bought for $760,000 in Q4 2015. In comparison, the median price for a five-room flat in Q2 2021 is $591,900.

Additionally, there has been renewed interest in HDB loft units after a few high profile HDB loft units were sold for close to $1 million last year.  

One of them is an HDB loft resale unit in Sin Ming Avenue. It comes with a unique layout of a 6m to 7m ceiling height, slanted roof and a second floor. The total floor area of the HDB loft unit is 2,012 sq ft.

hdb loft 2
Source: AsiaOne

Besides its size and unique layout, the HDB loft unit in Sin Ming Avenue had all the makings of a million-dollar HDB

  • Mature estate
  • Unblocked view of greenery
  • Pocket view of Upper Peirce Reservoir
  • City fringe location
  • Proximity to the upcoming Bright Hill MRT Station on the Cross-Island Line and Thomson-East Coast Line
  • Nearby to amenities like malls, eateries and schools
hdb loft 3
Source: Mothership

Another HDB loft unit that was sold on the resale market is one that is located in the new Punggol Sapphire estate. The 1,600 sq ft unit at 268B Punggol Sapphire was sold when the Circuit Breaker period eased for $900,000. It was only viewed once before the sale was confirmed!

The HDB loft unit in Punggol Sapphire comes with two bedrooms and a study on the first floor, and a master bedroom upstairs. Similar to the HDB loft unit in Sin Ming Avenue, this HDB loft unit also enjoys unblocked views of the surrounding.

 

Where Can You Find HDB Loft Units in Singapore?

For those who are looking to snap up an HDB loft unit, you might want to look at newer BTO projects. For example, there is a small concentration of these units in Treelodge@Punggol and Punggol Sapphire (around 37 units). You can also find some at the new Queenstown BTO projects like SkyTerrace @ Dawson, which fulfilled the five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) in 2020.

Interested in buying an HDB loft resale unit? Check out all HDB loft units for sale on PropertyGuru.

 

Is Building Your Own HDB Loft Illegal?

Given the rarity of an HDB loft unit, it may be challenging to snap up an HDB loft unit. But when there’s a will, there’s a way, right? 

If you’re having thoughts of “creating” your own HDB loft with a mini mezzanine in your existing HDB apartment, hold up. Before you tell everyone that you have outsmarted the authorities, make sure you have a clear understanding of the regulations first.

Mezzanine Floor in Your HDB Flat: Illegal!

For HDB flats, it is illegal to build a mezzanine floor in your home. There are two reasons why it’s not permitted by the authorities. 

Firstly, the HDB building is not designed to handle the additional load capacity from the mezzanine floor. The extra weight is a safety hazard as it can cause the HDB building structure to collapse. Secondly, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) considers mezzanine floors as a building feature that adds additional floor space and intensity of development. This illegally increases the Gross Floor Area (GFA) of the building, which is not approved by URA.

Mezzanine Floor in Private Properties: Legal, But Permission Required

For private properties, it is possible to install a mezzanine floor in your apartment as long as you fulfil a few criteria. Firstly, you need to have a high ceiling that allows the installation of a mezzanine floor. Next, you need to get approvals from both URA and Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to certify that the mezzanine floor is legal and safe.

Lastly, you need to submit documents to the Fire Safety and Shelter Bureau (SCDF-FSSB) to comply with the fire code. Compliance requires you to have safety mechanisms like sprinklers installed on your new mezzanine floor. 

If you are caught by the authorities for having an illegal loft, you may be slapped with a $5,000 fine, plus the cost of tearing down the mezzanine. 

We say it’s much easier to search for loft units directly on PropertyGuru. Can’t seem to find an HDB loft unit to your liking? Consider some of these discontinued HDB flat types that are being sold on the resale market instead. 

Alternatively, if you’re keen on buying an executive condo in Singapore, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide to buying an executive condo in Singapore. There are also plenty of new launches for HDB upgraders that have just reached their five-year MOP.

 

More FAQs about HDB Loft Units in Singapore

Can I Build Loft in HDB Flat?

No, you cannot as installing a mezzanine floor in an HDB flat is illegal.

What Are HDB Loft Units?

They are two-storey apartments with a high ceiling. Unlike executive maisonettes, bedrooms are on both the first and second floors.

Is a Loft More Expensive than an Apartment?

Due to their relative rarity, HDB lofts are more expensive than their counterparts with the same number of rooms.

Do Lofts Have Two Floors?

Yes, the common understanding is that loft units have two floors.

 

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