Friday, 26 February 2016

Half of new HDB flats in 2016 to be in mature estates: Lawrence Wong

9,000 flats in mature estates for 2016
Half of all new public flats offered this year will be in mature estates, to help meet high demand for these locations.
By Yeo Sam Jo, The Straits  Times, 25 Feb 2016

This means that around 9,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats will be launched in towns such as Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Bukit Merah, where amenities and transport nodes are usually better developed.

But National Development Minister Lawrence Wong also explained that the Housing Board cannot continue to add to mature estates because space is a constraint.

Speaking yesterday at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh, he said: "We are trying to do more for mature estates because we know that there is demand. So, this year, we are going to have about half of the flats set aside for mature estates and half for non-mature.

"That is already a higher proportion than it used to be."

New flats in mature estates made up about a third of the 15,100 BTO units launched last year.

"In the longer term, the majority of flats will still have to be in the non-mature estates," said Mr Wong, who was speaking to reporters after visiting HDB's revamped sales atrium and showflat gallery.

"Flats (in mature estates) are very popular, and there is not much space (there) to build new flats. So, there will always be more demand than there is supply."

Minister Wong's visit to the Refurbished HDB Sales Atrium & My...
During his visit to the refurbished Housing & Development Board's Sales Atrium, Minister Lawrence Wong shared about our efforts to help extended families stay together by providing larger flat options in mature estates. In the February 2016 BTO exercise launched yesterday, 70 3Gen flats in the Alkaff Oasis BTO project will be on sale. He also encouraged first-timers to opt for flats in the non-mature estates as the success rate is higher, and are more affordable for them too. For more info on the latest BTO launch:
Posted by Ministry of National Development on Thursday, February 25, 2016

HDB yesterday put up 4,170 BTO flats for sale, including 1,594 flats in Bidadari, located in the mature estate of Toa Payoh.

Some 1,655 flats in Bukit Batok and 921 units in Sengkang are also on offer.

The deadline for applications is next Tuesday.

The most popular flats on the first day of the launch were the five-room and 3Gen flats in the centrally located Bidadari - with prices starting from around $550,000.

In May, another 4,070 BTO flats will be launched in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Merah, Bukit Panjang and Sembawang. Around 5,000 balance flats - units not sold in previous exercises - will also be offered.

This was picked up by Shin Min Daily News - the price of a two-room flat in Seng Kang starts from $80k. With our housing...
Posted by Lawrence Wong on Thursday, February 25, 2016

HDB launches 4,170 flats in Bukit Batok, Sengkang, Bidadari in first BTO exercise of 2016
Bidadari flats hot property in HDB's latest sales exercise
Alkaff Oasis project draws applicants willing to pay a premium for central location
By Yeo Sam Jo and Janice Heng, The Straits  Times, 25 Feb 2016

Within a day of their launch, five-room and multi-generation flats in Bidadari have become the hottest properties in the Housing Board's latest sales exercise.

There were already 408 applicants vying for just 236 such flats as of 5pm yesterday - an application rate of 1.7.

Four-room flats were also popular, with 601 applicants chasing 800 units. Applications close on Tuesday. Property experts named its central location in Toa Payoh as the main reason the project, Alkaff Oasis, will be the most coveted in this launch.

The launch, comprising a total of 4,170 flats, also offers units in the newer estates of Bukit Batok and Sengkang.

Alkaff Oasis - the second lot of public housing in the upcoming Bidadari estate - is also attractive because of its proximity to established schools such as Cedar Girls' Secondary School, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

He said: "Flats in Bidadari are appreciated by aspiration-driven flat applicants who see it as akin to... upmarket flats in mature estates like Bishan and Queenstown."

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim, however, said some young couples might prefer flats in Sengkang and Bukit Batok as they are less pricey.

Prices before grants for five-room flats start from $546,000 in Bidadari, $367,000 in Bukit Batok and $324,000 in Sengkang.

With grants, a two-room flexi flat in Sengkang could go for as little as $4,000 - the cheapest in this sales exercise.

While two-room flats are open to all eligible applicants, they can also now come with a shorter lease for applicants aged 55 and up.

Among the two-room flexi flats on offer, those in Sengkang were the most sought after as of yesterday, with 345 applicants vying for 448 units.

The application rate for these flats was highest among singles, rather than older buyers eyeing a shorter lease.

Mr Ong said this group might take a while to warm up to the idea, though it is tailored to them.

"The two-room flexi scheme has yet to see massive, overwhelming applications by the elderly, as generally the elderly of today are still quite conservative. They resist uprooting to a new flat."

Bank analyst Jeremy Ho, 26, plans to apply for a four-room Bidadari flat with his 25-year-old girlfriend.

They were unsuccessful in their past four bids.

"Money is one consideration. A five-room flat there starts from over $500,000. I would rather pay less for a four-room and spend more on renovation," said Mr Ho.

He hopes this strategy would also raise his chances. There are 800 four-room units on offer in Bidadari in this launch, compared to just 165 five-room flats.

The price premium that comes with living in Bidadari does not bother Mr Ho, who works in Raffles Place. He said: "You are not paying more for nothing. You save time travelling. Location ultimately trumps everything."

With some planning, you can be like most home owners who service their HDB loans entirely with CPF monies—no need for...
Posted by Housing & Development Board on Monday, February 22, 2016

Don’t write off more affordable BTO flats in new HDB estates, say experts
By Yeo Sam Jo, The Straits  Times, 25 Feb 2016

With half of the new flats this year slated to be built in mature estates, home buyers are cheering the higher chance of getting a home in a coveted location.

But some property experts urged young couples not to write off a home in a new estate, which could be friendlier to their budgets than one in a mature neighbourhood.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday that half of the 18,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats this year will be built in mature estates, in order to meet high demand.

PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor described this as a great opportunity for buyers eyeing such estates. But he said affordability might be an issue for some young couples without enough savings.

"BTO flats in mature estates are usually pricier than those in non-mature estates," he said.

Prices for four-room Bidadari flats in the latest launch, which began yesterday, start from $440,000 before grants. By comparison, their Bukit Batok counterparts go from $266,000.

Mr Ismail noted there will still be about 9,000 BTO flats launched in non-mature estates this year.

"This is only about 10 per cent fewer than last year's 10,000 flats in non-mature estates, so those who want more affordable units will still have plenty of choice."

Mr Wong said that buyers should consider getting flats in non-mature estates, as these are cheaper and there is a better chance of getting a flat quickly.

"Every first-timer applying for a flat in a non-mature estate can get it certainly within the second or third try," he said. "We will try our best to have a healthy pipeline of new flats in mature estates. But I would like to say that no matter how many new flats we build in mature estates, it will not be enough to meet the demand."

It is a familiar feeling for pilot Yu Shu Qing, 33, and his wife Jasmine Ho, 28, who are applying for a five-room Bidadari flat in their seventh or eighth attempt at applying for a home.

"We have lost count already. We are tired of having to apply so many times," said Mr Yu.

"Hopefully, more flats in mature estates means we will stand a better chance. But I am also worried that competition will be much steeper because everyone will be rushing for these flats."

Mr Wong yesterday also reiterated that there are no plans yet to unwind the Government's property cooling measures, many of which were introduced in 2013 to tame a hot housing market.

Meeting different housing needs: Over 4,000 flats were launched in the February 2016 BTO exercise today, with a wide...
Posted by Ministry of National Development on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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