Big flats in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok draw BTO buyers

Sales assistant Mr Joseph and his wife consulting the digital display of the 3,770 BTO flats and 5,170 balance flats on offer at Toa Payoh HDB Hub.
Sales assistant Mr Joseph and his wife consulting the digital display of the 3,770 BTO flats and 5,170 balance flats on offer at Toa Payoh HDB Hub.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Ang Mo Kio, Bedok units many times oversubscribed; fewer takers in non-mature towns

Bigger build-to-order (BTO) flats in the mature estates of Ang Mo Kio and Bedok proved the most popular in the latest Housing Board sales exercise that concluded yesterday.

Nine applicants vied for each of the 234 four-room flats in Ang Mo Kio on offer as of 5pm yesterday.

The 200 five-room and three-generation (3Gen) flats there had more than eight applicants each.

The 247 four-room flats in Bedok were the next most contested, with each drawing over six applicants.

Over in the non-mature estates, however, some flat types were undersubscribed as of yesterday.

Two-room flexi- and three-room flats in Bukit Panjang as well as four-roomers in Sembawang had an application rate of 0.9 each - meaning all applicants are likely guaranteed a flat.

Five-room and 3Gen flats in Bukit Panjang drew more interest, with over two applicants for every unit.

Experts said the higher demand for flats in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok stems from their convenient locations and developed infrastructure.

OrangeTee research manager Wong Xian Yang said: "The number of BTO launches in mature estates is still quite rare." Previous BTO launches in Bedok and Ang Mo Kio were in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Last Tuesday, the HDB launched a total of 3,770 BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Panjang and Sembawang. Also on offer were 5,170 balance flats across 14 mature and 11 non-mature towns.

Sales assistant Joseph Louis Mathias, 50, and his wife were among those who applied for a four-room flat in Bedok in the latest exercise.

"We have lived in our three-room flat in Bedok for 15 years and it's time for a change. We are sticking with Bedok because we are used to this area," said Mr Joseph.

Excluding grants, prices for four-room flats in Bedok and Ang Mo Kio start at $408,000 and $382,000 respectively.

Convenience and familiarity also led administrative manager Mey Aw, 35, and her husband, Mr Edmund Ong, 39, to apply for a 3Gen flat in Ang Mo Kio. The couple, who have three children and are expecting their fourth, live with Mr Ong's parents in a four-room flat in the same town. "My parents have lived in Ang Mo Kio for more than 30 years and they are familiar with it," said Mr Ong, who is self-employed.

Madam Aw said: "Our children also go to school in Ang Mo Kio, so it's the best location for us."

Mr Chris Koh, director of estate agency Chris International, noted that application rates for Ang Mo Kio and Bedok were lower than that of fellow mature estate Clementi during last year's sales launch in May. Five-roomers there had almost 14 applicants for every unit.

Mr Koh said: "You have BTO units in two mature estates and also balance flats on offer this time round. Demand could have been diluted."

Among the most popular balance flats were two five-roomers in Kallang/Whampoa, which drew 118 applicants as of 5pm yesterday.

Four-room flats in Tampines were also hotly contested, with 315 applicants vying for just eight units.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2016, with the headline 'Big flats in old estates draw BTO buyers'. Print Edition | Subscribe