The beauty of Jumbo flats and where to find them

When it comes to HDB flats, sometimes size does matter. Coined “Jumbo Flats”, these larger-sized HDB flats were launched in a one-off exercise in back in 1989 to give unsold three and four-room flats a new lease of life.

Needless to say, there are a very limited number of these in the market — only 2,900 island wide to be exact.

What is a Jumbo Flat?

Jumbo flats can be found in Woodlands, Yishun, Bedok and Tampines and Jurong East. As mentioned above, these flats are made up of two flats (3-room or 4-room HDB flats) combined into one.

You can think of them as an experimental public housing unit for the sandwiched class (much like DBSS flats or Executive Condominiums)

Jumbo flats range from between 1,442 sqft to 1,830 sqft – think of them as “7-room flats”, which typically also includes a balcony. Where they’re rare (with only a total of 485 such units in Yishun and Woodlands combined), it’s not impossible to find them on sale today.

Most of the buyers seeking out these rare units are multi-generational families. They do not, however, come cheap.

These larger-sized units command a premium with prices starting from $650,000. Some buyers are even willing to pay close to a $1million for these HDB flats.

How much does a Jumbo Flat cost?

Taking a 5-room HDB flat in Woodlands as a comparison, a Jumbo Flat could cost almost twice as much. The size of the 5-room flat is approximately 110 sq m and costs on the average of $450,000.

Families who choose to live in these Jumbo Flats enjoy the space they provide and they often serve as a central place for the family to gather.

Why get a Jumbo Flat?

For starters, look at how huge they are on the inside; we’re half expecting them to strike an iceberg and sink. Jumbo flats offer a range of advantages you won’t find in traditional HDB properties:

1. A compromise between more space and having to buy a pricey condo.

Let’s take a look at the following iProperty listing to get a clearer understanding. This one, at 403 Woodlands Street 41, is a massive 1,894 sqft (four bedrooms, two bathrooms). At just $850,000, it’s cheaper than many private condos; and while you could get an Executive Condominium at that price, it may not be quite as spacious.

So if space if your main concern, jumbo flats present a viable alternative to going private. Remember, these are HDB properties, so you can use an HDB loan rather than taking on a private bank loan — that means you can get up to 90 percent financing — win-win.

2. Great choice for multi-generational families

Dining area, Woodlands, Blk 402, Woodlands Street 41. Picture: iProperty

Jumbo flats are HDB’s answer to the prayers of big families – the whole kampung can now live under the same roof. If you and your parents and/or in-laws share the cost of the jumbo flat, the financial commitment for both parties is fairly manageable.

It’s like getting two flats for the price of one!

HDB Multi-Generation Home. Photo: HDB

3. You can experiment with Themed Homes

If you want a themed home – like a French Cottage, Industrial, Shabby Chic etc, there’s only so much you can do within a regular HDB unit. The only consistent theme in most HDB flats seems to be claustrophobic-chic.

5/1 Printers Lane, Darlinghurst, is something special on the warehouse conversion scene. Picture:

With a jumbo flat, the sky’s the limit. With all that space at your disposal, you can pretty much have a different theme in each living area. This isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it impacts rentability later too — when you’re ready to open a room or two to tenants.

4. Good returns, given the scarcity value

Much like the million-dollar maisonettes, the scarcity of jumbo flats gives them some resistance to downturns; there’s almost always a willing buyer when one is listed.

And given that we’re unlikely to see more of these in the next few decades (barring a drastic change in the housing supply situation), owners stand to see good gains in the long term. Jumbo flats can be a good stepping stone towards private properties.

Related: Bigger is better – Jumbo HDB Flats