The Kallang/Whampoa and Toa Payoh projects are expected to be heavily oversubscribed, given their prime city fringe locations and close proximity to MRT stations. Image: HDB
In the first sales exercise of the year, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) launched 3,740 Build-to-Order (BTO) flats on Thursday (4 February) – the largest February launch since 2017 when about 4,000 flats were offered.
This month’s offering includes 169 units of Community Care Apartments at Harmony Village @ Bukit Batok that seniors aged 65 and above can buy on short leases of between 15 and 35 years (in five-year increments).
Set to be completed in Q2 2024, these flats come with mandatory service package, which include basic health checks, 24-hour emergency monitoring and response as well as simple home fixes. Prices start from $52,000, excluding grants.
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The rest of the flats range from two-room Flexi to five-room flats.
Flats within the mature estates are priced from $312,000 for a three-room unit in Toa Payoh to $611,000 for a five-room unit also in Toa Payoh, excluding grants.
Those in the non-mature estates go from $101,000 for a two-room Flexi unit in Bukit Batok to $384,000 for a five-room unit also in Bukit Batok.
Analysts expect the flats in Kallang/Whampoa and Toa Payoh to be heavily oversubscribed, given their prime city fringe locations and close proximity to MRT stations.
“The new flats in McNair Heights in Kallang/Whampoa will be much sought-after going by previous BTO application trend. The BTO exercise in May 2019 for Kempas Residences in Kallang/Whampoa saw overwhelming demand, with a subscription rate of 5.4 times and 15.6 times for the 3-room and 4-room flats, respectively,” said PropNex CEO Ismail Gafoor.
He expects McNair Heights to appeal to families looking to live “in a more convenient location amid the hustle and bustle of being near to the city”.
Located near the Boon Keng MRT station, the development is close to various schools such as Northlight School, Hong Wen School, Bendemeer Primary and Bendemeer Secondary as well as other amenities such as Mustafa Centre, City Square Mall and the upcoming Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital.
Lee Sze Teck, Director of Research at Huttons Asia, however, noted that while the flats’ city fringe location is attractive, they have a “very long completion period of five years”.
“That may shift prospective applicants to the resale market,” he said.
Meanwhile, the three to four years completion period for the BTO flats in Toa Payoh is reasonable, noted Lee.
“We expect them to attract many applicants including those who were worried about the longer construction periods in earlier launches. The subscription rate could range from 4 to 10,” he said.
“The proximity to an MRT station, the upcoming Woodleigh Mall, Bidadari Park and Alkaff Lake, as well as a number of popular schools will likely be the key attraction for these city fringe flats,” said Gafoor.
On the BTO flats in Tengah and Bukit Batok, he expects them to attract fairly healthy applications although they would not be as hotly contested as those in Kallang/Whampoa and Toa Payoh.
“In particular, Parc Woods @ Tengah may woo applicants who are looking to live in a next generation of HDB estate – Tengah will be Singapore’s first smart and sustainable town, with green features,” added Gafoor.
Lee expects the Community Care Apartments to be popular “among seniors who are active and prefer to age in place”.
Christine Sun, Senior Vice President of Research & Analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, said such flats will meet the housing needs of the increasing population of single elderly, divorcees as well as parents who prefer to live apart from their children.
However, not everyone “likes to live among a community of elderly as some may prefer a good mix of young families and couples”, she said.
Some people may also find Bukit Batok’s location as inconvenient, while the prohibition on flats to be sold in the open market may turn off some buyers.
“Some elderly may still be quite traditional and prefer to bequeath property to their descendants,” said Sun.
“Some of the optional services could also be quite costly for the elderly with little or no income,” she added.
In August, another 4,900 BTO flats in Jurong East, Hougang, Queenstown, Kallang Whampoa and Tampines will be launched for sale.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, HDB is monitoring the situation and will make adjustments where necessary,” it said.