Soaring application rates of second-timers?

SINGAPORE — New flats launched in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok in the latest Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise proved to be the most popular, outpacing even the keen interest shown in Bidadari units in the previous launches.

As of 5pm on Monday (May 30), hours before the exercise drew to a close, five-room and Three-Generation (3Gen) flats in Ang Mo Kio Court saw about eight applicants vying for each of the 200 units available overall.

This was the first time 3Gen flats were offered in Ang Mo Kio. The competition was especially keen among second-timers, with 58 hopefuls gunning for each of the five-room or 3-Gen units, compared with about six applications per unit among first-timers. 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 ECBellewaters EC, Bellewoods EC.

Four-room units had about nine applicants each. Again, demand was stronger among second-timers, with about 38 applications for every four-room unit, compared with nearly eight applicants among first-timers.

Only 5 per cent of four- and five-room BTO flats in a mature estate and 15 per cent of three-room flats and bigger in non-mature estates are set aside for second-timers.

The 247 four-room flats in Bedok North Woods also drew keen interest with 1,580 applicants. Among first-timers, there were about five applicants for every unit, while there were about 32 second-timer applicants for every unit.

Subscription rates for the two mature towns in this exercise were generally higher than that of the popular Bidadari projects in the previous launches. Last November’s exercise saw an overall application rate of 5.4 applicants for each four-room flat in Bidadari, while February’s exercise drew 6.2 for every unit.

Property analysts TODAY spoke to attributed this to the fact that Ang Mo Kio and Bedok are more established towns than Bidadari, despite hype over the latter.

“I think primarily because Bidadari is brand new, (and) the linkages are not there yet, whereas Ang Mo Kio and Bedok are already very established HDB towns … It is literally move-in condition whereas in Bidadari you still need a certain period of time … for the estate to be fully developed,” said ERA’s key executive officer Eugene Lim.

As for the soaring application rates of second-timers, Mr Lim added that it is expected for new flats in mature estates to be heavily oversubscribed because of the quota restrictions for second-timers.

OrangeTee senior manager for research and consultancy Wong Xian Yang noted that the Bidadari subscription rates could have been lower because more flats were available during those launches, compared with the latest exercise.

In all, 3,770 BTO flats and 5,170 balance units in Bukit Panjang, Sembawang, Ang Mo Kio and Bedok were launched in the latest exercise, the second this year.

Slightly fewer BTO flats were launched than planned, as a 300-unit project in Bukit Merah was held back for review, the Housing and Development Board said last week.

Interest in the projects in non-mature estates was more subdued. Five-room and 3Gen flats in two projects in Bukit Panjang — Senja Valley and Senja Ridges — received the highest overall subscription rate of 2.6. There were about five second-timer applicants for each unit, compared with about two first-timers per unit.

Four-room flats in Bukit Panjang were the second most popular option with 876 applications for the 525 units available, with demand levels similar between first- and second-timers.

Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director and head of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants, said the disparity in interest between mature and non-mature estates is expected. This is because first-time home buyers also view their first property as an investment that they hope to sell at a profit after a few years.

“So it’s no surprise that the ones that are better located gets higher applications,” he said.

executive condo photo 9