Did we see it coming? That Singaporeans would snatch up the August 2022 BTO Tampines flats? Well, when the locations of the August 2022 BTO flats were announced, most of us were so certain that the Ang Mo Kio August 2022 BTO project would be the most over-subscribed. But Tampines came out tops and it wasn’t even a close fight.
With whopping overall BTO application rates (the number of people vying for one unit) of 22.3 and 26.3 for 4- and 5-room units respectively, the demand for the Tampines August 2022 BTO flats was head and shoulders above Ang Mo Kio, which garnered application rates of 12.6 and 17.5 for 4- and 5-room/3Gen units respectively.
There were also the anticipated Bukit Merah flats, which as predicted, did indeed turn out to be the flats released under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model. These were in a great location, but perhaps factors such as the PLH restrictions like the 10-year Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) resulted in a lower-than-expected application rate.
Well, with the results of the August 2022 BTO exercise being released today, on 12 October 2022, we thought we would take a look back at the latest exercise and try to understand why the Tampines site was so popular.
Overview of Tampines August 2022 BTO Launch
Zooming in on the Tampines August 2022 BTO launch, Sun Plaza Spring, here’s a quick recap of the project.
Bounded by Tampines Street 41 and Tampines Street 42
Nearest MRT station
Tampines East (Downtown Line), Tampines (East-West Line and Downtown Line); about 10 minutes’ walk
Nearest bus interchange/s
Tampines Bus Interchange, Tampines Concourse Bus Interchange; about 10 minutes’ walk
Gongshan Primary School, Tampines North Primary School, Pasir Ris Secondary School, Dunman Secondary School, Yumin Primary School, Chongzheng Primary School
Other nearby amenities
Tampines North Community Club, Tampines Eco Green, Tampines East Community Club, Tampines Mall, Century Square, Tampines 1, Tampines Regional Library, Our Tampines Hub
Flat price (excluding grants)
4-room: From $381,000
5-room: From $520,000
Although there’s no MRT station at its doorstep, the August 2022 Tampines BTO flats are a short 10-minute walk from two stations. Future residents have easy access to the East West and Downtown Lines via Tampines and Tampines East MRT stations. Given that Tampines is a mature estate and in a popular HDB town in the east, the prices of the BTO flats are considered to be affordable.
In terms of amenities, there are also a couple of schools nearby, and being relatively close to the town centre, residents have access to the three major malls there as well as a library in the sprawling Our Tampines Hub.
But enough about what we think. What did those who applied (or chose not to apply) for the August 2022 Tampines BTO flats think? To find out more about the reasons why Singaporeans snatched up these flats, we spoke to 6 people to understand their reasons for applying (and not applying).
August 2022 BTO Tampines Flats: Reasons Why Singaporeans Chose to Apply or Not
1. Location of the August 2022 BTO Tampines Flats
Sun Plaza Spring is about a 10-minute walk to the town centre, which can be a dealbreaker for those who prefer living close to an MRT station. Marketing manager Ryan, 32, eventually did not apply for the August 2022 Tampines BTO project. He lives with an elderly person (his mum) and has young children, so the walk to the MRT station could prove inconvenient for the family, and they might need to rely more on private hire cars.
He says, “The location is near but not near enough to an MRT station. I love that there are good public transport links, but they’re all at a 10-minute walk away, which translates into a 20-minute walk for my aged mum, who is used to having an MRT station at her doorstep in her current place in Serangoon. There also doesn’t seem to be a hawker centre or ‘kopitiam’ nearby as this site is in a newer part of Tampines. Also, next time if I want to go to Orchard Road, it’s gonna be a long journey; it’s a no for me.”
On the other hand, finance executive Aini, 29, was excited about the location, but eventually did not apply due to other factors.
“I’ve been a Tampines girl all my life, so my parents, my close neighbours, and everything I need is here. The location is good: I’m a pro when it comes to cutting through the blocks, so I can take less than 10 minutes to reach the town centre. As for travelling to central Singapore to meet friends, we now have the Downtown Line and express buses like 59 and 129 that can take us via the expressway to other parts of Singapore in a flash! There are choice schools in the area too. And I can’t do without my regular visits to the malls here and to the happening Our Tampines Hub," she shares.
2. Prices of the August 2022 BTO Tampines Flats
The price of a 4-room August 2022 Tampines BTO flat, excluding grants, starts from $381,000, while that for a 5-room unit begins from $520,000, excluding HDB grants. With HDB grants, the numbers are lowered to about $336,000 and $490,000, respectively.
In comparison, with grants included, the BTO prices for the August 2022 Ang Mo Kio flats are from $490,000 for a 4-room flat, from $690,000 for a 5-room, and from $683,000 for a 3Gen unit. The PLH flats at Bukit Merah, including grants, are priced from $310,000 for a 3-room and $486,000 for a 4-room.
Budget constraints turned freelancer Sarah, 31, away from the Ang Mo Kio project, although her in-laws stay in the area. She instead turned to the Tampines project for its more affordable prices, amongst other factors such as primary schools and connectivity. At the price, for the size, it’s a steal, she feels.
Sarah says, “While my husband and I are working and don’t plan to have children yet, in this time of high inflation, we’d prefer to go for a more budget-friendly place so we don’t need to feel stressed about ensuring there’s enough to pay off the home loan."
"Anyway, Singapore is not very big. Everything is a maximum of two hours away, unlike when I lived overseas previously and had to commute three hours just to get to work,” she adds.
However, Andy, 31, has a different view. The graphic designer says, “I don’t think paying mature estate prices in a location as far as Tampines makes sense. If I’m going to live so far from the city centre, I’d rather look at Choa Chu Kang, where the amount of money I’d pay for a 4-room in Tampines or a 3-room in Bukit Merah can net me a 5-room flat there. But my ballot goes to the 3-room units in the Woodlands project. It’s right beside the MRT station, a quick train ride to town, and after grants, the selling price starts from just $113,000, maybe I can pay it off in just 5 years (or immediately) after deducting my CPF monies.”
3. Probability of Securing an August 2022 BTO Tampines Flat
What are the odds of snagging one of the 267 units then?
Wayne, 34, feels that when making his choice, he has to consider how "it’s basically a numbers game".
"If you really, really want to become a homeowner, the key is to keep refreshing the live application rates update on the HDB website, and to study all the past application rates for the launches, taking into account the project’s exact location as that also affects application rate. Go for those with low application rates, the lower the better as there are fewer people ‘fighting’ with you for a unit. For this simple reason, I didn’t choose Tampines. My ballot is precious and there are too few units available.
However, I’m not in a rush to get a unit and I want a good location. So, my ballot chance went to the Bukit Merah project, given the track record that the PLH model typically depresses application rates due to the restrictions. Oh, and if you don’t care where you stay, wait for the last day to apply so you can see live application rates to determine the probability,” he explains.
Adjunct lecturer Holly, 26, made a beeline for the Tampines Aug 2022 BTO and applied during the first hour of the sales launch. She says: “While everyone’s hyping over the AMK flats, I’ll be the one who claims the true prize, which is at Tampines.”
We still think patience is a virtue, though. Look at how the application rate turned out for her and the 6,428 others who felt that way.
4. Height of the August 2022 BTO Tampines Flats
The units of Sun Plaza Spring are spread across three 11-storey blocks. This is likely due to their proximity to Changi Airport, as other blocks in Tampines are also around this height.
For Holly, block height is not an issue. She says, “It doesn’t matter how high or low my flat is; a home is still a home. And don’t we pay less for lower floors; and if the lift breaks down, there are fewer flights of stairs to walk?”
However, for Wayne, another reason why he decided to apply for the Bukit Merah project instead was that the blocks went up as high as 50 storeys. “It would be awesome, to have a view of both the city and/or the coast of Singapore around Sentosa. I went up to my friend’s block at City Vue @ Henderson, and I felt so inspired by the breathtaking view. Since then, anything lower than the 25th storey doesn’t cut it for me. I would feel like a Hobbit if I lived on the 11th floor.”
5. Estimated Completion Time of the August 2022 BTO Tampines Flats
An HDB BTO flat typically takes over three years to over five years to complete. This process could take even longer now due to the delays brought on by the pandemic. Other factors that could also affect completion times include the location of the project site, whether there are additional works to be done on the site, the number of storeys, accessibility of the site for heavy vehicles, and so on.
According to HDB, “home buyers looking to move into their flats sooner can consider the BTO projects in Choa Chu Kang, Tampines and Woodlands which have the shortest waiting times at 3.8 years or less”.
Sarah notes, “We jumped for joy when we saw the shorter waiting time for Tampines. This means we can have a place of our own quicker, as it does get a bit cramped living with my in-laws/parents (we’ve alternated over the past three years, partly due to the pandemic). It’s really a no-brainer as waiting times can be arduous these days. Even renting or buying resale is pricey and tough as there’s a lot of property demand now.”
Aini was also attracted to the Tampines project due to the shorter waiting time, for similar reasons as Sarah. Meanwhile, Ryan has concerns about a “rushed” project.
“Would it compromise on the quality? It’s all like Lego bricks with pre-fabricated stuff but what if they are rushing to deliver within the promised 3.8 years or less? Even if the quality is not affected, the workers could be overworked as there’s pressure to deliver within the promised timeframe. I wouldn’t like that on my conscience,” he muses.
Note: HDB has strict design, building and quality guidelines in place, so workmanship and building quality are not an issue. The above view expressed is only an opinion of the interviewee.
Upcoming BTO November 2022 Launch
Whether you managed to book a flat for the August 2022 HDB BTO launch, or not, the next HDB BTO launch is happening in November, along with the launch of the Sales of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise.
For the upcoming November 2022 HDB BTO launch, we’re looking at about 9,500 units of BTO flats offered across five estates: Kallang/Whampoa and Queenstown (mature estates), as well as Bukit Batok, Tengah and Yishun (non-mature estates).
Which will be the most over-subscribed estate in the upcoming round? We hazard a guess that it might be Kallang/Whampoa or Queenstown, provided they aren’t classified under PLH. However, it would be really interesting if, by some random chance, Yishun turns out as the most popular pick.
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