High prices, balloting uncertainty deter some AMK Sers residents from applying for new BTO flat in same estate

Some Ang Mo Kio residents said they will not consider applying for a flat in the ongoing BTO sales exercise, citing high prices and balloting uncertainty. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Retired businesswoman Chew Ye, 60, whose Ang Mo Kio flat has been picked for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers), is not sold on the idea of balloting for a new flat in the same estate, despite having the option to do so.

On Tuesday (Aug 30), the Housing Board launched 896 two-room flexi, four-room, five-room and three-generation Build-To-Order (BTO) flats at Central Weave @ Ang Mo Kio.

Of these, up to 10 per cent of the flats will be set aside for priority allocation under the Resettlement, Relocation, Sers and Tenants' Priority Scheme, which includes residents affected by Sers.

It is part of Sers rehousing benefits, which also guarantees affected residents a flat at a designated replacement site next to ITE College Central.

"The priority quota is only 10 per cent, which is a very low chance. If I don't manage to get a good ballot number, then what happens? I'll probably be stuck with a low floor at the Sers replacement site," said Madam Chew.

"My friend and I also have tried walking from the BTO location to Ang Mo Kio MRT station. It took us 15 minutes and we had to cut through many blocks and carparks, so the BTO project is not very attractive to me," she said.

Like Madam Chew, some Ang Mo Kio residents said they will not consider applying for a flat in the ongoing BTO sales exercise, citing high prices and balloting uncertainty as deterring factors.

At Central Weave @ Ang Mo Kio, prices range from $198,000 to $292,000 for a two-room flexi, $535,000 to $676,000 for a four-room and $720,000 to $877,000 for a five-room flat. There are no three-room flats on offer.

The estimated compensation amount for Sers residents ranges from $290,000 to $390,000 for a three-room flat and $380,000 to $450,000 for a four-room flat.

Blocks 562 to 565 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, comprising 606 households, were picked for Sers in April.

A 47-year-old resident, who wanted to be known only as Ms Ho, said she had not considered applying for the BTO project as she had expected the higher selling prices for the bigger BTO flats, as the project is located nearer to the MRT station.

"You don't have to be a mathematician to calculate that anyone who wants to apply for a four-room BTO flat is looking at an almost $100,000 top-up and that is only for the lowest floor. It doesn't even make sense to apply," she said.

"All of us are waiting for our actual compensation amount to make an informed decision, but I believe most of us will just have no choice but to pick a new flat at the replacement site," she added.

HDB had previously said residents will be informed of their actual compensation amount in November this year.

Retired clerk Fred Lee, 73, is among the minority of residents who have made up their minds for their next home.

He has applied for a two-room flexi flat with a 30-year lease at the Ang Mo Kio BTO project as it is the most affordable option that does not require him to top up any money.

"Of course there is a fear that I won't get a good ballot number, but I can only hope for the best. In the worst case, I'll just fall back on the replacement site next to the ITE," said Mr Lee.

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