Experts observe that the flats in Sembawang, Tampines and Tengah are expected to attract “fairly healthy applications”, though they would not be as hotly contested as those in Bishan and Toa Payoh (Bidadari).
The Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (17 November) launched 11,015 flats for sale under the Build-to-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises for November.
For the BTO exercise, a total of 5,795 new flats were offered across seven projects. Three projects are located in the non-mature towns of Tengah and Sembawang, while four projects are in the mature towns of Toa Payoh (Bidadari), Tampines and Bishan.
Under the SBF exercise, HDB offered 5,220 flats, comprising 1,977 two-room Flexi units, 701 three-room units, 1,740 four-room units, 668 five-room units, 120 3Gen units and 14 executive flat units across various towns and estates.
HDB revealed that the BTO flats in Tengah “will have shorter waiting times, and at least 95% of the four-room and bigger flats will be set aside for first-timer families”.
Moreover, the two-room Flexi flats at Bishan Ridges will only be offered to seniors (aged 55 and above) on short leases of between 15 and 45 years, due to the presence of eldercare services and facilities within the vicinity.
It noted that seniors will also “benefit from easy access to facilities and public transport at Bishan Town Centre and Bishan MRT/Bus Interchange”.
Prices of flats, excluding grants, in non-mature estates start from $92,000 for a two-room Flexi unit in Sembawang to $394,000 for a five-room unit in Tengah.
Over at the mature towns, flat prices, excluding grants, start from $121,000 for a two-room Flexi flat in Bishan to $627,000 for a five-room unit in Toa Payoh (Bidadari).
Recommended article: BTO Prices Have Gone Up, But Have They Necessarily Become More Expensive?
HDB explained that the new flat prices are generously subsidised, taking into account factors like location, flat attributes as well as prevailing market conditions.
“HDB’s prices are considerably lower than the transacted prices of comparable resale flats in the vicinity,” it said.
Eligible first-timer families will also enjoy up to $80,000 under the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG).
“With EHG, flat buyers could pay prices starting from $12,000 for a 2-room Flexi flat, $88,000 for a 3-room flat, $200,000 for a 4-room flat, and $291,000 for a 5-room flat.”
First-timer families will also continue to enjoy priority in flat allocation, while applicants who wish to live near their parents or married children within the same BTO project can jointly apply under the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme.
Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex, expects Bishan Ridges as well as Bartley Beacon and ParkView @ Bidadari in Toa Payoh (Bidadari) to be heavily oversubscribed due to their city fringe locations and proximity to popular schools and MRT stations.
“We expect many of the applicants who missed out on the earlier Bishan Towers BTO launch in the August 2020 exercise will likely have another go for this site,” he said.
“This latest offering seems more attractive than Bishan Towers as it is nearer to the bus interchange and Bishan MRT station (470-480m), which is an interchange station for the Circle and North-South Lines. It is also a stone’s throw from Junction 8 mall and the Bishan town centre.”
Lee Sze Teck, Director of Research at Huttons Asia, expects the project “to see a very high application rate of up to 10”.
For Bartley Beacon and ParkView @ Bidadari, which are situated near the Bartley and Woodleigh MRT stations, Gafoor expects the projects to attract healthy interest “going by the response to the February 2020 BTO at Toa Payoh (Kim Keat Ripples/ Toa Payoh Ridge), where the three- and four-room flats were more than nine times oversubscribed”.
In fact, Lee does not expect the nearby Mount Vernon columbarium to “affect demand much” since the columbarium’s design will be “sensitive to the residents and will blend into the surroundings”.
The flats in Sembawang, Tampines and Tengah are also expected to attract “fairly healthy applications”, though they would not be as hotly contested as those in Bishan and Toa Payoh (Bidadari), said Gafoor.
The Tengah BTO (Garden Court @ Tengah and Garden Terrace @ Tengah), for instance, may “woo more applicants following recent announcement that the Tengah town will incorporate many features (under the Designing for Life Roadmap) that promote wellness, encourage social interaction, and offer smart solutions to improve residents’ daily living and quality of life”, he added.
HDB shared that homeowners at Tengah’s Garden Court and Garden Terrace projects can opt to have their air conditioning provided from a centralised cooling system, a first of its kind in Singapore.
Overall, Lee believes that this month’s BTO exercise will have an application rate of between five and eight.