Another one? 'Vacant' Jurong East flat listed for sale raises eyebrows

Even while the Housing Board is clamping down hard on flats in the resale market that look “brand new”, another one has appeared in the market.

A three-room HDB unit along Teban Gardens Road was listed for $500,000 on PropertyGuru yesterday (Feb 3).

Completed in 2013, photos of the 775 sq ft high-floor unit listing showed that the flat appeared to be in pristine condition with a lack of furniture.

“Currently vacant, so viewings are flexible,” the property agent wrote, adding that the home owner is a “genuine seller” who made no modifications to the unit.

After the unit was flagged online in a Reddit thread, netizens urged HDB to investigate.

“Report them as soon as possible”, a netizen quipped.

But several netizens pointed out that “it’s quite unlikely” that the flat would be vacant for 10 years after its completion.

“What if the owners had already stayed in through the minimum occupancy period (MOP), are now moving overseas and decided to sell?’ a netizen said.

Responding to AsiaOne’s queries on Saturday (Feb 4), the property agent said that the home owner had passed away “long ago”. 


Other ‘brand new’ flats listed for sale

Several HDB flats in “original BTO condition” were listed on property websites in recent months.

Last December, a five-room unit along Bukit Batok East Avenue 6 was listed for $688,888 on PropertyGuru.

It was under the BTO project SkyPeak @ Bukit Batok that was launched in March 2013 and completed in 2017.

Accompanying photos in the listing showed that the flat appeared to be in its pristine original BTO condition – with the toilet bowl still wrapped in plastic.


A vacant five-room flat in Yishun was also listed for sale in a similar “brand new’ condition.

That unit was apparently left vacant for eight years because the buyers moved into their family’s landed property.

Errant home owners and property agents

Taking to Facebook last December, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee shared that those who did not move into their flats for five years are not allowed to sell them as “almost brand new” on the resale market.

He said: “If the owners are unable to fulfil the MOP, then the flat needs to be returned to HDB.

“HDB will then put it up as a balance flat for other home buyers to apply for.”

Out of the 53 errant home owners caught between 2017 and 2022, 21 of them had their flats compulsorily acquired by the HDB, while the rest were issued fines or warnings. 

And in a speech in Parliament last month, the minister said that HDB detects infringements to their rules through methods such as random inspections – 500 every month – and feedback from members of the public as well as property agents.

Disciplinary action has also been taken against property agents who helped homeowners sell flats before the MOP, according to Lee.

Out of the 69 property agents caught between 2017 to 2022, six of them were suspended for between seven and 48 weeks and were fined between $2,000 and $5,000.

ALSO READ: What an HDB second-timer must know before deciding to sell

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