12 applicants for every five-room BTO flat in Bidadari

An artist's impression of the new Bidadari housing estate. The 2,139 flats across three Bidadari projects are the only units in a mature town in this Build-To-Order exercise.
An artist's impression of the new Bidadari housing estate. The 2,139 flats across three Bidadari projects are the only units in a mature town in this Build-To-Order exercise.PHOTO: HDB

Halfway into the Housing Board's largest sales exercise, the first Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in Bidadari are still the most sought-after.

As of 5pm yesterday, there were 1,833 applicants vying for the 151 five-room units there - a ratio of over 12 applicants to each flat.

Four-room units there were hot too, with 3,249 applicants chasing the 1,229 flats on offer.

Despite Bidadari flats commanding higher prices than those in the other new projects, experts expect the demand to keep climbing before the launch closes on Nov 26.

This is largely due to Bidadari's relatively central location in Toa Payoh town and its proximity to transport nodes, they said.

Excluding grants, Bidadari prices start at $433,000 for four-room flats and $544,000 for five-room units.

SLP International Property Consultants research head Nicholas Mak said: "The enlarged pool of buyers due to the higher income ceiling would result in healthy demand for the BTO flats in this location."

The household income ceiling for buying new HDB flats was recently raised to $12,000 for Singaporean families and $6,000 for singles.

Account executive Jovina Ng, 22, and her husband are among those applying for a five-room flat in Bidadari.

"I'm not superstitious," said Ms Ng, referring to Bidadari's past as a cemetery. "It's conveniently located and I think it's a good investment."

The latest BTO projects in Hougang and Bukit Batok are also proving popular.

As of 5pm yesterday, there were more than two applicants vying for each four-room flat in Hougang.

Bukit Batok also saw close to two applicants for each of its three- and four-room flats. This is despite the project, West Quarry @ Bukit Batok, being 1km away from the nearest MRT station and just beside the site of a proposed nursing home.

Mr Chris Koh, director of estate agency Chris International, said such flats would be a natural choice for those who cannot afford the Bidadari price premium.

"Hougang is still on the city fringe and a lot closer to the city than, say, Sengkang or Punggol," said Mr Koh.

"Some buyers would also prefer to be closer to their family or workplace," he added.

This is why Uber driver Adam Mustaffa, 30, and his wife have opted for a four-roomer in Bukit Batok.

"It's much cheaper than a Bidadari flat and more convenient for us because our parents are all living in Bukit Panjang," he said.

In the concurrent Sale of Balance Flats exercise, demand was highest for flats in mature estates. The most popular flat was a five-roomer in Queenstown, which had 39 applicants.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2015, with the headline '12 applicants for every five-room BTO flat in Bidadari'. Print Edition | Subscribe