A build-to-order (BTO) project in non-mature estate Choa Chu Kang (CCK) has proven to be the most attractive in the latest sale of new homes by the Housing Board, defying expectations that home buyers usually prefer mature estates.
For three-room and four-room flats, Teck Whye View saw a rate of more than seven applicants vying for a unit as at 5pm yesterday, with more than 2,400 applicants for 322 units. This exceeded the subscription rate of about two applicants per flat for Ubi Grove in mature estate Geylang, another project that was predicted to be a hit. Applications closed at midnight yesterday.
Experts pointed to accessibility and affordability as the main attractions of Teck Whye View.
ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said the Choa Chu Kang flats are near the Bukit Panjang MRT station and "are also rather affordable, with prices starting from $190,000, including grants (for a four-room flat)".
He said that while the numbers of applicants for four-room flats in both the Choa Chu Kang and Geylang projects are similar - at around 2,000 each - there is a larger supply of flats in Geylang. He added that the starting price of a four-room flat in Geylang can be more than twice that of one in Choa Chu Kang.
PropNex Realty key executive officer Lim Yong Hock said the high subscription rate for the Choa Chu Kang flats is due to a supply-demand squeeze, pointing to the relative lack of supply of BTO flats in the west of Singapore and the large, growing population in the area.
Last year, there were two BTO launches in the west - Clementi in February and Bukit Batok in August.
Mr Lim said the new BTO flats in Clementi are expensive compared with the Choa Chu Kang ones. The selling price of a Clementi four-room flat in last February's launch started at $432,000, while one in Teck Whye View starts at $250,000.
Data specialist Cheryl Tan, 25, is among those looking to land one of the 238 four-room units in Choa Chu Kang. "It is near my parents' home in Bukit Panjang and very near Bukit Panjang MRT station, which is convenient because of the Downtown Line. The future price of the flat will be quite high," she said.
She said the price represents a "super good deal". Ms Tan applied for the flat with her boyfriend, Mr Bobby Tan, 27, a research editor.
National University of Singapore law student Thaddaeus Aaron Tan, 24, is applying for a flat in Ubi Grove with girlfriend Esther Koh, 25, who works in the security industry.
He said he chose Ubi Grove because it was the closest option to Tanjong Pagar, where he will be working from 2020, adding: "I think property prices in the region will go up over the years and the area will be redeveloped soon."
He also said he expected a much higher subscription rate for the project, and was surprised it was much lower than the figure for Eunos Court, also in Geylang, which was part of last November's launch.
The subscription rate for Eunos Court was 3.8 for four-room flats, compared with 2.1 for Ubi Grove.
With an overall subscription rate of more than two applicants per unit as at 5pm yesterday, Mr Lim said demand is healthy, and that people should be able to get their flats in a reasonable amount of time.
This month's launch is also the first in which all BTO units will come with the open-kitchen concept, where possible.
The next BTO exercise will take place in May, with 3,900 flats in Sengkang, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun expected to go on sale.