Decentralising urban development

SINGAPORE: A total of 8,940 flats were launched on Tuesday (May 24), comprising 3,770 Build-To-Order (BTO) units and 5,170 balance flats, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced.

Four new BTO projects were launched in Bukit Panjang, Sembawang, Ang Mo Kio and Bedok. A project in Bukit Merah originally planned for launch in May is undergoing further review to better integrate the project with the surrounding developments, HDB said. Upcoming executive condo include Treasure Crest and Northwave EC while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone EC, The Visionaire EC, Parc Life EC , Waterwoods EC, Signature at Yishun, Skypark Residences, Wandervale EC, The Vales EC, The Criterion EC, Bellewaters EC, Bellewoods EC.

The flats are priced from S$73,000 (excluding grants) for a two-room Flexi flat in Bukit Panjang to S$541,000 (excluding grants) for a 3Gen flat in Ang Mo Kio.

The balance flats, which are in 11 non-mature towns and 14 mature towns, are priced from S$81,000 (excluding grants) for a two-room Flexi unit in a non-mature estate to S$530,000 (excluding grants) for an executive flat in a mature estate.

Interested applicants for the current exercise may submit an application online at HDB’s InfoWEB from May 24 to 30. They can also apply at HDB Hub or any of HDB’s branches.

This is the second BTO launch for 2016, bringing the total number of BTO flats offered in the first half of this year to 7,940 units. Together with the 5,170 balance flats offered in this exercise, HDB has offered a total of 13,110 flats for sale in the first half of this year.

Another 4,810 BTO flats in Hougang, Sembawang, Tampines and Yishun will be launched in August, HDB said.

‘NON-MATURE ESTATE TODAY, MATURE ESTATE TOMORROW’

In a blogpost on Wednesday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said it has been more than three years since BTO flats were launched in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Bukit Panjang. This is also the first time that 3Gen flats were launched in Ang Mo Kio and Bukit Panjang, he said.

More flats have also been launched in mature estates, after such flats received much interest from buyers in the last two BTO launches, Mr Wong said. But application rates for these flats are expected to be high, which means a lower chance of success, he added.

Encouraging young couples to apply for BTO flats in non-mature estates, Mr Wong said these flats are more affordable and come with more grants.

“By opting for a 3-room flat in Sembawang instead of one in a mature estate like Bedok, you get to save more than S$100,000 instantly, which you could set aside for renovation and more. You will also enjoy a much higher chance of success in your application,” he said.

“There’s a perception that flats in non-mature estates are located far from work, and are not as well served by transport connections, or other amenities and facilities. But there are significant development plans in many of these areas, which potential home buyers should take into consideration.”

The Government’s move to decentralise urban development and build commercial centres outside the city will also create more investments and jobs closer to homes in these areas, he added.

“I remember when my parents bought their HDB flat in Marine Parade back in the 70s. At that time, it was a completely new town with few amenities. There were also concerns about it being built on reclaimed land.

“But look at how the whole area has developed over time. So a ‘non-mature’ estate today can become a ‘mature’ estate tomorrow.”

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