HDB offers 9,655 BTO flats in mega launch; application period extended to 9 days

An artist's impression of Ulu Pandan Banks in Queenstown. It is situated in the eastern half of Dover Forest, within walking distance of Dover MRT station. PHOTO: HDB

SINGAPORE - The Housing Board launched 9,655 Build-To-Order flats for sale on Wednesday, in what was the biggest sales exercise since the BTO system was implemented in 2002.

The units are spread across 10 housing projects in five estates. Three of these – two in Queenstown and one in Kallang/Whampoa – fall under the prime location public housing (PLH) model, which comes with a 6 per cent subsidy clawback upon their sale.

Another 1,071 flats are on offer in 2022’s second and last Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) scheme, bringing the total number of new flats on sale in this launch to 10,726.

To allow buyers more time to select their units, the application period has been extended to nine days, up from the usual seven days, HDB said on Wednesday.

HDB launched 23,184 BTO flats in 2022, up from 17,000 flats in 2021, to meet strong demand for public housing.

In the current sales exercise, two projects in the mature estate of Queenstown under the PLH model come with stricter buying and selling conditions.

The bigger one is Ulu Pandan Banks, with 1,330 three-room and four-room flats on offer in seven blocks. It is situated in the eastern half of Dover Forest, within walking distance of Dover MRT station.

The four blocks facing Ulu Pandan Canal will be low-rise, while those closer to Commonwealth Avenue West will be high-rise.

Prices range from $362,000 to $504,000 – without grants – for a three-room flat, and $546,000 to $725,000 for a four-room flat.

Buyers will have to wait about 71 months – close to six years – as the project is estimated to be completed in the third quarter of 2029, making it the project with the longest waiting time in this launch.

The second Queenstown project under the PLH model is Ghim Moh Natura, where 991 two-room flexi, three-room and four-room flats in four blocks are on offer on a site near Buona Vista MRT station.

The second Queenstown project under the PLH model is Ghim Moh Natura. PHOTO: HDB

Prices in this project are $364,000 to $487,000 for a three-room flat, and $516,000 to $696,000 for a four-room flat.

Buyers will have to wait about 53 months – 4.4 years – as the project is estimated to be completed in the first quarter of 2028.

The smallest PLH project in this launch is Kallang Horizon in the mature estate of Kallang/Whampoa, where 477 three-room and four-room flats are spread across three blocks on a site next to Kallang MRT station.

Prices for this project are $335,000 to $447,000 for a three-room flat, and $509,000 to $690,000 for a four-room flat.

Buyers will also have to wait about 53 months – 4.4 years – as the project is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2028.

The smallest PLH project in this launch is Kallang Horizon in the mature estate of Kallang/Whampoa. PHOTO: HDB

Flat owners in the three PLH projects will have to pay 6 per cent of the resale price or valuation, whichever is higher, to HDB when they sell their homes on the open market for the first time.

The subsidy clawback applies to the first resale transaction and not to subsequent sales, because of the higher amount of subsidies given to first-time owners of the flats.

Owners will also be bound by a 10-year minimum occupation period (MOP) before they can sell their flats on the open market. Standard BTO flats come with a five-year MOP and do not have a subsidy clawback clause.

Owners are also not allowed to rent out their whole unit, even after the MOP is over.

A third project in Queenstown, Queensway Canopy, does not fall under the PLH model. This is because the site – next to Alexandra Hospital – is located farther away from the main transport nodes and major retail amenities, said HDB.

Besides three-room and four-room flats, Queensway Canopy offers 245 Community Care Apartments, which are assisted living flats for seniors aged 65 and above.

The assisted living public housing project is the second of its kind to be launched, after the pilot in Bukit Batok in February 2021, where units were oversubscribed.

Queensway Canopy offers 245 Community Care Apartments, which are assisted living flats for seniors aged 65 and above. PHOTO: HDB

There are six BTO projects in three non-mature estates in the current launch, where at least 95 per cent of the four-room and larger flats, and at least 85 per cent of three-room flats, are set aside for first-time applicant families.

All four-room flats offered in these non-mature estates are below $400,000, said HDB.

In Tengah, 2,077 two-room flexi, three-room, four-room and five-room flats are on offer across 18 blocks in Garden Waterfront I and II @ Tengah. There will be rental flats in two of the blocks.

These units will be the first in Singapore with a beamless flat design, which gives residents greater flexibility to configure their layout.

Buyers will have to wait for only 3.3 years – or three years and four months – as HDB trials advanced construction technologies at the sites to increase productivity.

Prices range from $307,000 to $397,000 for a four-room flat, and $428,000 to $536,000 for a five-room flat.

Three projects in Yishun are on offer, with a mix of two-room flexi, three-room, four-room and five-room flats, some of which overlook the Orchid Country Club golf course and Lower Seletar Reservoir.

Prices start from $248,000 for a four-room flat and $366,000 for a five-room flat.

In Bukit Batok, 790 two-room flexi, three-room, four-room and five-room flats are on offer at West Glades @ Bukit Batok on a site in Bukit Batok West Avenue 5.

Meanwhile, the 1,071 units offered under the SBF scheme are spread across mature and non-mature estates such as Bishan, Toa Payoh and Sengkang.

About 31 per cent of them are completed, while the rest are in various stages of construction.

Applications close at 11.59pm on Dec 1 on the HDB flat portal. Flats will be allocated through balloting.

In February 2023, about 4,400 BTO flats in towns such as Jurong West, Tengah, Kallang/Whampoa and Queenstown will be launched.

In May 2023, HDB will offer between 3,800 and 4,800 flats in towns such as Tengah, Bedok, Kallang/Whampoa, Serangoon and Queenstown.

HDB said it is monitoring housing demand closely and is prepared to launch up to 100,000 flats in total from 2021 to 2025 if needed.

Property analysts said the Kallang Horizon project is expected to draw the most demand given its convenient location in the city fringe next to Kallang MRT station, with the two PLH projects in Queenstown following closely due to their proximity to MRT stations.

Huttons Asia senior director of research Lee Sze Teck expects the overall application rate in this sales exercise to be between one and five applicants per available unit, given that the mega launch may spread out the application rate.

OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun said that while application rates have fallen in recent PLH projects as more such projects were introduced, overall BTO demand has remained high in the past year as BTO flats are still the most affordable housing option in the market.

“The prices of BTO flats in mature estates are also not considered high compared with private housing, as prices are ‘capped’ to a certain extent since there are no five-room flats offered in mature estates in this sales exercise,” she added.

University student Nicole Teo, 21, who intends to apply for a four-room flat in either Ulu Pandan Banks or Garden Waterfront I and II @ Tengah projects, said she and her 25-year-old boyfriend will take some time to work out their finances before submitting an application in the latter half of the application period.

“Tengah is cheaper but it is not as developed, so we are worried about accessibility in the future. The BTO at Dover MRT is in a very good location, but it is not a small sum of money and the wait time is very long, so we have to think through it carefully.

“We will also look at the application rates before we make a decision,” she said.

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