One applicant for each BTO flat in latest exercise

There was one eligible buyer for every flat offered in the latest Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise as of 5pm yesterday, one of the lowest subscription rates since the system was introduced in 2001.

This meant it was likely that most of the applicants would get to select a flat, analysts said.

But not all the 4,900 BTO units in the five non-mature estates enjoyed equal popularity.

The 314 three- and four-room flats in Hougang attracted more than 1,200 applicants, while the 1,462 similar sized units in Sembawang attracted just 560 bids.

This equates to an application rate, or number of applicants per flat, of 3.8 and 0.4 respectively.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said location was a major factor in this round, as none of the projects was near MRT stations. Hougang, however, was more attractive because it was a well established estate with the right infrastructure in place.

"The rest were overshadowed by the selection of flats available under the balance flats exercise," Mr Lim added.

Some 3,100 balance flats across the island were offered in a concurrent exercise, and applicants could go for only one or the other.

Highly sought after units this time included two flats at Pinnacle@Duxton - one five- room and one four-room - which together garnered 622 bids.

Although the larger unit had a hefty price tag of $769,000, analysts said its capital appreciation could still present a small "windfall" when it goes for resale in five years.

OrangeTee head of research Christine Li said demand from second-time buyers remained high.

The application rate for this group in this exercise was 95.7, up from 78.2 in the previous balance flats sale last September.

"Even though the prices of bigger flats and their cash premiums have softened, second- timers continue to face difficulty in getting a resale HDB flat due to a mismatch in expectations between sellers and buyers," Ms Li noted.

darylc@sph.com.sg