Strong demand expected for new launch

SINGAPORE — The Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday put up almost 9,000 flats for sale, with a quarter of the new units being offered in the mature estates of Ang Mo Kio and Bedok.

In all, 3,770 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats and 5,170 balance units were launched in the second exercise of the year. Slightly fewer BTO flats were launched after a 300-unit project in Bukit Merah was held back for review, HDB said. The latest exercise will see, for the first time, the sale of Three-Generation (3Gen) flats in Ang Mo Kio and Bukit Panjang.

Following keen demand for projects in Bidadari in the last two exercises, analysts interviewed expected strong demand this time for flats in the mature estates. 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.

In the previous exercise in February, units in Bidadari were oversubscribed from the first day of the launch. In comparison, as of 5pm on Tuesday, there were 42 applicants for 234 four-room flats put up for sale in Ang Mo Kio, for example, while the 247 four-room BTO flats in Bedok yielded 34 applications.

OrangeTee senior manager for research and consultancy Wong Xian Yang said he believed demand for the Ang Mo Kio and Bedok units will pick up over the next few days.

ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim also expected the BTO flats in these mature estates to be the most popular because of the location and “very attractive” prices — which are almost half that of resale flats nearby.

“Given the extremely limited number of flats on sale in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok, a good number … of first-timers who may have family linkages within these two estates are expected to apply for flats there, even though they may be more pricey than similar options in the non-mature estates,” he said. For example, a four-room BTO flat in Bedok costs S$408,000 before grants. A similar flat-type costs S$382,000 in Ang Mo Kio, S$239,000 in Bukit Panjang and S$235,000 in Sembawang.

Writing on his blog, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said: “I know many buyers have been looking forward to this launch, as it has been more than three years since HDB last offered BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Bukit Panjang.”

He added that the latest exercise offers young couples many choices, with the balance flats located in 25 estates, including 12 mature ones.

Noting the popularity of flats in mature estates, Mr Wong said applicants have to be prepared for a lower chance of success in these areas.

Encouraging young couples to apply for flats in non-mature estates, Mr Wong 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.”

He added: “Also, our efforts to decentralise our urban development and build commercial centres outside the city will create more investments and jobs closer to homes in these areas.”

Still, the analysts said demand may be lower for new flats offered in Bukit Panjang and Sembawang under the latest exercise, as there have been recent flat launches in these areas, and the amenities are less developed than those in mature estates.

As announced during the Committee of Supply debate earlier this year, the Tenants’ Priority Scheme — which helps tenants in public rental flats buy their own homes — will be extended to second-timer families in the latest exercise.

In total, 13,110 units have been offered for sale in the first half of this year. The next BTO launch is slated for August, with about 4,810 new units in Hougang, Sembawang, Tampines and Yishun.

executive condo photo 5