SINGAPORE - A Build-To-Order (BTO) project in non-mature estate Choa Chu Kang has proven to be the most attractive in the latest sale of new homes by the Housing Board (HDB), defying expectations that home buyers usually prefer mature estates.
Teck Whye View saw a rate of more than seven applicants vying for a unit on Monday (Feb 12) at 5pm, with more than 2,400 applicants going for 322 units. This far exceeded the subscription rate of about two applicants per flat for Ubi Grove in Geylang, another project that had been predicted to be a hit.
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 convenient as they are near Bukit Panjang MRT station. They 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 in Choa Chu Kang is due to a supply-demand squeeze.
He said the relative lack of supply of BTO flats in the west of Singapore and the large, growing population in the area are reasons for the demand.
In 2017, 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 also expensive, compared with the Choa Chu Kang ones. The selling price of a Clementi four-room flat in the February launch last year started from $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 very convenient because of the Downtown Line. The future price of the flat will be quite high," she said.
She added that the price represents a "super good deal", though she said she has a very low chance of getting a unit.
"But the mentality of Singaporeans is just to try," said Ms Tan, who applied for the flat with her boyfriend Bobby Tan, 27, a research editor.
National University of Singapore law student Thaddaeus Aaron Tan, 24, is applying for Ubi Grove in Geylang with his 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.
"I think property prices in the region will go up over the years and the area will be redeveloped soon," he said.
He added that 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 2.2 for the February BTO launch as at 5pm on Monday (Feb 12), Mr Lim said that 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 one where 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.