Thursday 28 November 2013

Record 8,952 flats launched by HDB in Nov 2013 sales exercise

Balance flats in mature estates may be a bigger draw than new units: Experts
By Janice Heng, The Straits Times, 27 Nov 2013

A RECORD 8,952 flats were launched for sale yesterday by the Housing Board in its largest joint Build-To-Order (BTO) and sale of balance flats exercise.

Analysts expect the balance flats - those left over from previous exercises - to be more popular as the new units are all in non-mature estates.

There is also a longer wait for new units, built according to demand under the BTO scheme.

The 4,978 BTO units are spread across six projects in Bukit Batok, Hougang, Sembawang, Woodlands and Jurong West, which has two projects.

Prices range from $75,000 for a two-room flat in Admiralty Grove in Woodlands to more than $373,000 for a five-room unit in West Ridges @ Bukit Batok.

Hougang Meadow and Admiralty Grove are expected to be popular, with MRT stations and amenities nearby. But overall, PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor expects the subscription rate to be around two for every available unit or even lower.

One exception to this moderate demand may be the 454 two-room flats in Woodlands and Bukit Batok, which are expected to be sought after by singles.

Previous launches saw strong response from this group, with 8,800 singles vying for 519 flats in July, and between seven and 159 applicants per flat in September.

"The demand from singles has not been satisfied, and we can expect to see continued over-subscription for two-room flats in this BTO exercise," said ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim.

Yesterday was Mr Ngiam Meng Fatt's third attempt to apply as a single. "It is hard to say if I will have a chance," said the 53-year-old removal van driver who lives with his sister's family.

The 112 "3Gen" flats in Boon Lay View could also attract applicants, as this is only their second launch, said OrangeTee head of research Christine Li. Introduced in the last BTO in September, these are for married or courting couples applying with their parents.

The 3,974 balance flats represent the largest such launch, ranging over 11 non-mature and 13 mature estates. They include two units at Pinnacle@Duxton - expected to be highly contested due to the potential for capital appreciation once they hit the resale market. Also up for grabs is a rare three-room terraced house in Jalan Bahagia going for $795,000.

Previously sold but then returned to HDB, it is one of just 285 "landed" public homes here built by HDB's predecessor, the Singapore Improvement Trust.

The final launch for the year brings the total BTO supply to 25,139 units. Together with balance flats and additional two-room flats offered, HDB has put 33,568 flats up for sale this year.

Applications close on Monday.

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