SINGAPORE - House hunters eyeing the popular Bukit Merah estate can tap an upcoming development of around 1,500 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats on a site in Alexandra that is less than a 10-minute walk to Redhill MRT station.
The Housing Board said plans are being drawn up and will be shared when ready.
The site is bounded by Alexandra Road, Prince Charles Crescent and Alexandra Canal and sits along the Alexandra Park Connector.
Located 400m from Redhill MRT station, it was previously home to low-rise blocks of public rental flats, shops and a market, all of which were demolished in the 1990s.
The site will be developed to meet the strong demand for public housing, said the HDB and Singapore Land Authority on Wednesday (Dec 15).
It has been earmarked for residential use in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan since 1998.
"The new housing projects will add to the good geographical spread of public housing to meet the different needs of Singaporeans, including young families who want to live near their parents in the area for better mutual care and support," said the agencies in a joint release.
When asked if the flats will come under the new prime location public housing (PLH) model, HDB said: "The details of future projects under the PLH model are being finalised. Projects to be offered under the PLH model will be announced before the BTO launch."
The PLH model is aimed at keeping future HDB flats in prime, central locations affordable and inclusive.
Home owners under the model are subject to stricter buying and selling conditions such as a 10-year minimum occupation period and a subsidy clawback by the Government upon the resale of the units.
To facilitate the development of the Alexandra site, 0.23ha of land that is currently occupied by Alexandra Post Office and SingPost's tenant will be acquired by the Government.
"This will allow for more residential units to be built... and enable a more optimal planning and design of the public housing projects such as better layout within the projects and better connectivity from the development to surrounding amenities," said the agencies.
This year, the HDB launched more than 17,000 BTO flats and has committed to rolling out the same number, if not more, next year.
This comes amid rising HDB resale flat prices and a longer wait for BTO flats due to construction delays caused by Covid-19.
Property analysts said the Alexandra site will likely attract high demand because of its proximity to Redhill MRT station, the central business district and the Orchard Road shopping belt.
Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, noted that some may find these flats attractive as they have the “potential to yield good investment or rental returns”.
New condominium units in the area are transacting at a median price of $2,280 per square foot (psf), which comes up to around $2 million for a 900 sq ft unit, which is roughly the size of a four-room BTO unit, she said.
Comparatively, the BTO flats in Alexandra - launched at subsidised prices by the HDB - will be more affordable, which makes them even more attractive, she added.
A Bukit Merah BTO project rolled out in May attracted almost 50 applicants for each of its 70 four-room flats in Telok Blangah Beacon, despite a waiting time of more than five years for the project to be completed and a starting price of $602,000. The project does not come under the PLH model.
ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said: “If these BTO units in Alexandra are not under the PLH model, the application rates will be sky-high as we’ve seen in the Telok Blangah BTO project.”
He is on the fence over whether units in Alexandra will fall under the PLH model.
Ms Sun noted that previous BTO launches in the Bukit Merah area, such as Telok Blangah Beacon, were not considered under the new model.
Huttons Asia head of research Lee Sze Teck said the city fringe location, while convenient for residents, may not be considered “prime” under the PLH model which is focused on areas in core central Singapore.