SINGAPORE - Ang Mo Kio residents affected by the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) will now have the option of applying for a new flat in the same estate.
In an upcoming Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercise this month (August), up to 10 per cent of the flats offered at Central Weave @ Ang Mo Kio BTO project will be set aside for priority allocation for eligible households. This includes residents affected by Sers.
This means if the number of applications the Housing Board receives is within 10 per cent of the flat supply, all applicants will be able to book a flat. The selection order will be decided in a ballot.
If the number of applications exceeds 10 per cent, applicants will be assigned queue numbers via a ballot, similar to the standard BTO process.
The 10 per cent priority allocation comes under the Resettlement, Relocation, Sers and Tenants' Priority Scheme, which also covers other groups of buyers such as tenants of HDB rental flats.
In a letter sent to Ang Mo Kio Sers residents on Aug 5 and seen by The Straits Times, HDB said some residents had expressed interest in applying for the Ang Mo Kio BTO exercise in August.
HDB said it has decided to allow residents to apply for the BTO project as it is located within Ang Mo Kio Town and the delivery possession date (DPD) is estimated to be within 2029.
DPD is the legal contractual date by which HDB is required to hand over the keys to residents.
Residents will also be able to apply for the Keat Hong Grange BTO project in Choa Chu Kang, Woodlands South Plains BTO project in Woodlands, and Sun Plaza Spring BTO project in Tampines during the August BTO sales exercises, subject to the 10 per cent priority application.
HDB said this is because these projects have a DPD that is no later than March 31, 2029, which is the DPD of the designated replacement site next to ITE College Central.
The August BTO sales exercise is expected to launch sometime this month.
The Straits Times understands that some residents petitioned the authorities to offer the Ang Mo Kio BTO site in August as a second replacement site, on top of the existing replacement site next to ITE College Central.
Sers residents who apply for a new flat at a designated replacement site are guaranteed one.
In its letter, HDB also said it expects to inform residents in the four Sers blocks of the actual compensation amount for their Sers flats in November this year.
It added that the designated replacement site next to ITE College Central would have amenities such as an eating house, shops, a dialysis centre and childcare centre.
The latest offer from HDB comes after a petition was submitted to Parliament by Progress Singapore Party Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai on behalf of five Ang Mo Kio residents. In the petition, Mr Leong asked for a review of Sers and to suspend the scheme until the review is completed.
In July, HDB said a 50-year lease rehousing option would allow Ang Mo Kio Sers residents to move to a replacement flat without having to top up more money.
A second rehousing option extended to seniors allows them to take up the lease buyback scheme for their existing flats and buy a short-lease replacement flat after.
Since the Sers announcement on April 7, several Ang Mo Kio residents have expressed frustration about having to top up money for a similar-sized replacement flat.
On Sunday, residents said the additional Ang Mo Kio BTO site may be more accessible than the existing replacement site, but there are other issues.
The upcoming Ang Mo Kio BTO project is located on a site that shares a border with Ang Mo Kio Central 2 and 3 and is about a 10-minute walk from Ang Mo Kio MRT station on the North-South Line.
It is expected to house about 890 two-room flexi, four-room, five-room and three-generation flats.
Information technology manager Anuar Abubakar, 53, said the BTO site is nearer to the MRT station, so the flats are likely to be more expensive compared with those near ITE College Central.
The 10 per cent priority allocation also means that residents are not guaranteed a flat and may have to ballot, he added.
Mr Anuar has two children, one of whom attends a primary school in Ang Mo Kio.
He said: “If I need to ballot and have the good fortune to get a good number and can select a BTO flat in Ang Mo Kio Central, I will have to fork out even more money. I have young kids, does that even make sense?”
The key issue, he added, is that it is unfair to force residents to move out and make them either downsize, take a shorter lease or fork out more money.
Retired clerk Fred Lee, 73, said he will consider applying for a flat at the Ang Mo Kio BTO site but the unit size he will go for depends on the selling price, which will be made known only at the launch.
“Location-wise, of course Ang Mo Kio Central is much better than the one next to ITE College Central, especially for seniors like us where everything needs to be accessible,” said Mr Lee, who shares a four-room unit with his sister and elderly mother.
“But I will have to appeal to get two separate two-room flexi units on short lease because there are three of us. I believe it will also be cheaper,” he added.
A part-time odd-job worker who wanted to be known only as Madam Tee said in Mandarin: “I have no intention of forking out more money because I have none, so I will decide when the time comes.”