Ang Mo Kio, Tampines BTO projects most popular in August launch; demand for PLH flats dampens

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SINGAPORE - Larger flats in the mature estates of Ang Mo Kio and Tampines were the most popular in the August Build-to-Order (BTO) sales exercise.

As at 5pm on Monday, close to eight first-time applicants were vying for each of the 398 four-room flats and 372 five-room and three-generation flats at the Central Weave @ AMK project.

Prices range from $535,000 to $676,000 for a four-room flat, and $720,000 to $877,000 for a five-room flat.

At the Sun Plaza Spring project in Tampines, 17.2 first-time applicants were vying for each of the 117 five-room flats, which are priced from $520,000.

At least 95 per cent of the flats in mature estates are set aside for first-time applicants.

Meanwhile, the first-time application rate for the 353 three-room flats at the two projects in Bukit Merah - Alexandra Vale and Havelock Hillside - was below one.

This meant all first-timers are likely to get a chance to select a flat.

The two projects come under the prime location public housing (PLH) model, which means owners are subject to a 10-year minimum occupation period (MOP) and a 6 per cent subsidy clawback clause when they sell their homes on the open market for the first time.

The Housing Board said in a statement on Monday evening that three-room flats had lower first-timer application rates across most projects.

“Other than Woodlands South Plains in Woodlands, the first-timer application rate was 1.9 or lower for all three-room flats,” it said.

There were 3.3 first-time applicants vying for each of the 1,298 four-room flats offered in the Bukit Merah estate.

At Alexandra Vale, which is next to Redhill MRT station, prices range from $385,000 to $477,000, without grants, for a three-room flat, and $547,000 to $705,000 for a four-room flat. One of two blocks in the project will also house rental flats.

Prices for the Havelock Hillside BTO project, which is within walking distance of Tiong Bahru MRT station, range from $370,000 to $515,000 for a three-room flat, and $531,000 to $730,000 for a four-room flat.

Both projects have a waiting time of around five years.

Applications close at 11.59pm on Monday for all projects on the HDB flat portal. The flats will be allocated through balloting.

Those with queue numbers for this launch can book their flats in person at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh between this November and August next year.

OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun noted that demand is stronger in the Ang Mo Kio and Tampines projects, compared with Bukit Merah.

"Perhaps some buyers were deterred by the more stringent selling criteria and longer MOP of the PLH model flats," she said.

"Moreover, some projects in mature estates could be sold faster in the resale market since they would be completed at about the same time as the PLH model flats but have a shorter MOP."

Ms Sun added that five-room flats were popular among buyers in this BTO launch as there were fewer such flats released in mature estates in recent launches.

ERA Realty's head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said there was less demand for three-room flats in Bukit Merah as first-time buyers could be considering their long-term plans, given the longer MOP.

He said for those planning to have children, a two-bedroom flat may not be enough in the long term.

There were three projects in non-mature estates in this launch.

In Woodlands, there were 8.7 first-time applicants vying for each of the 268 four-room flats at a site in Woodlands Avenue 1, with prices starting from $303,000 for a four-room flat.

The Jurong East Breeze project had 4.3 first-time applicants vying for each of the 252 four-room flats, on a site in Jurong East Central, next to the Pan-Island Expressway.

Prices start from $283,000 for a four-room flat.

In Choa Chu Kang, slightly more than one first-time applicants were vying for each of the three-, four- and five-room flats, on a site near ITE College West.

This meant most first-timers have a good chance of choosing a flat, as HDB issues three times more queue numbers than the flat supply, in anticipation of applicants who will drop out during the flat selection process.

HDB said there is an average 40 per cent rejection rate at the flat selection stage.

Prices start from $194,000 for a three-room, $277,000 for a four-room and $390,000 for a five-room flat.

Mr Mak said the application rates in the non-mature estates showed that buyers generally preferred those in mature estates.

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