Bumper launch of 8,200 HDB flats

Straits Times: Fri, Sep 23
FLATS in established estates like Ang Mo Kio, Queenstown and Bukit Merah are among the more than 8,200 Housing Board units launched yesterday. The supply of build-to-order (BTO) and Sale of Balance flats also comes in the wake of the revision of…

FLATS in established estates like Ang Mo Kio, Queenstown and Bukit Merah are among the more than 8,200 Housing Board units launched yesterday.

The supply of build-to-order (BTO) and Sale of Balance flats also comes in the wake of the revision of the income eligibility rules in August, from $8,000 to $10,000 in monthly household income.

Yesterday, the HDB released details of 5,415 BTO flats – its biggest supply ever – in seven projects in Sengkang, Punggol, Jurong West, Jurong East and Ang Mo Kio.

Another 2,847 units are Sale of Balance flats in 15 mature and non-mature towns, some of which are ready for occupation.

These 2,847 units come from earlier BTO launches, surplus replacement flats under the selective en-bloc redevelopment scheme, and those bought back by the HDB.

The bumper crop – a combination of two months’ worth of releases – is in line with National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s promise to meet Singaporeans’ burgeoning demand for homes.

Previously, the largest batch of BTO flats offered was in May, when nearly 4,000 units were launched in Pasir Ris, Punggol, Tampines and Woodlands.

More than 13,000 people applied, leading to an average oversubscription rate of three times.

In BTO launches, at least 95 per cent of the flats are set aside for first-time buyers, who also enjoy grants.

The availability of flats in mature estates such as Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah and Queenstown also reflects Mr Khaw’s desire to encourage young couples to live close to their parents.

Mr Nicholas Mak, research head of property consultancy SLP International, said the highest oversubscription rate is likely to be for flats in Ang Mo Kio and Punggol, with projections of up to eight times as many buyers as there are flats.

Projects in other towns are expected to see oversubscription rates of between two and three times.

The BTO units range from 398.3 sq ft studio apartments with a starting price of $70,000 in Sengkang, to 1,205.5 sq ft five-room units costing from $375,000 in Punggol. Sale of Balance flats start from $82,000 for a two-room unit in Sengkang to $611,000 for a five-room flat in Bukit Merah.

Sales manager Declan Lim, 30, has been looking forward to yesterday’s launch ever since the income ceiling was revised, allowing him to qualify for a BTO flat.

‘I would be seriously interested in a unit in Queenstown. I prefer a flat that’s more central and more accessible to town,’ said the potential first-time applicant.

Applications for the new flats can be submitted online till Sept 28.

An HDB spokesman said the Government will continue to release enough units to meet its target of 25,000 BTO flats this year, and another 25,000 next year. In November, the HDB will offer 4,200 BTO flats in towns such as Bedok, Punggol and Yishun.

But buyers should not expect units in mature estates to form the bulk of upcoming launches.

‘Besides new towns like Punggol, HDB will also build flats in mature estates such as Kallang/Whampoa and Tampines. However, in view of the limited land readily available for new housing in mature estates, flats in the non-mature estates will remain the mainstay of HDB’s BTO supply,’ she said.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

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