Bidadari's large flats a big draw

An artist's impression of Alkaff Oasis in Bidadari estate. The project saw more than 3,000 applicants going after 236 five-room and multi-generation flats as of 5pm yesterday - the last day of the launch.
An artist's impression of Alkaff Oasis in Bidadari estate. The project saw more than 3,000 applicants going after 236 five-room and multi-generation flats as of 5pm yesterday - the last day of the launch.PHOTO: HDB

High pricing of units there attracts more second-timers, say property experts

Large flats in the upcoming housing estate of Bidadari once again emerged as the star draw in the latest Housing Board sales exercise.

There were over 3,000 applicants chasing 236 five-room and multi-generation flats in Bidadari's Alkaff Oasis project as of 5pm yesterday - the launch's last day.

Of these, second-timer applicants were the most competitive group, with over 91 applications for each flat set aside for them.

Property experts said the high pricing of Bidadari flats would draw more second-timers - people who are buying their second flat directly from HDB - than first-timers. "Second-timers are generally existing flat owners," said R'ST Research head Ong Kah Seng. "They can easily cash out by selling their flat and topping up to buy a Bidadari flat, which is quite pricey."

Prices for five-room flats in Alkaff Oasis start from $546,000 without grants.

The 93ha Bidadari estate, about the size of 150 football fields, is reclaimed from the former Bidadari Cemetery. It is under Toa Payoh town and bounded by Bartley Road, Sennett Estate, Upper Serangoon Road and Mount Vernon Road. When the first batch of Bidadari flats was launched in November, five-room flats were the most popular, with more than 3,500 applicants vying for just 151 units.

In the latest sales exercise, flats in Sengkang's Anchorvale Plains were more popular than those offered in the same area in November. There were only 197 applicants for 192 five-room flats in Fernvale Woods in the November offering. Five-room flats in Anchorvale Plains, by comparison, were oversubscribed by over six times in the latest exercise. There were 775 applicants chasing 117 such units as of yesterday.

PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor put it down to the project's "superior" attributes. "It is close to the Punggol park connector, has views of the Punggol reservoir and is less than 400m from the nearest LRT station." He said buyers who prefer flats cheaper than those in Bidadari would be drawn to Sengkang because of the convenient location and waterside lifestyle it promises.

The latest launch also offered flats in Bukit Batok's West Plains, among which four-room flats were the most sought after. They were more than twice oversubscribed as of yesterday.

Among the two-room flexi flats on offer, those in Sengkang were more popular than Bukit Batok and Bidadari flats, with over 2,300 buyers applying for 448 units.

Two-room flexi flats are open to all eligible buyers, but can come with shorter leases for those aged 55 and older. Demand from non-elderly singles seemed to fuel this oversubscription, with 13 applicants for every flat set aside for them. One reason is that singles can apply only for flats in non-mature estates, said experts.

Overall, second-timer application rates exceeded that of first- timers in this launch.

"The needs of first-timers have already been absorbed by sales exercises in the past four years," said Mr Ismail. "But there are still millions of second-timers, many of whom are planning to upgrade or downgrade."

One of them is a 65-year-old retiree who wanted to be known only as Mrs Sim. She plans to move out of her son's executive condominium unit and get a two-room flexi flat in Bidadari. She said: "The house is getting small with the grandchildren and a maid. Having my own place would be better."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2016, with the headline 'Bidadari's large flats a big draw'. Print Edition | Subscribe