Strong demand for 4-room Rochor BTO flats under prime area model

Over 2,100 applicants vying for 680 units a day after launch, but 3-room flats undersubscribed

Buyers made a beeline for four-room flats in the first Build-To-Order (BTO) project under a new prime location public housing (PLH) model, with these units drawing three times the number of applicants than units available just a day after they were launched for sale on Wednesday.

As at 5pm yesterday, there were 2,105 applicants vying for the 680 four-room units at the Rochor BTO project - River Peaks I and II - which is next to the Jalan Besar MRT station.

The three-room flats were not as popular and remained undersubscribed as at yesterday, drawing just 215 applicants for the 280 units on offer.

The three-room flats have a smaller estimated unit size of 66 sq m each, compared with 88 sq m for the four-room flats.

The Rochor BTO project is the first to come under the PLH model, which imposes stricter buying and selling conditions on flat owners to keep public housing in prime areas affordable and inclusive.

Owners of these Rochor flats must pay 6 per cent of the resale price or valuation, whichever is higher, to the Housing Board when they sell their homes on the open market for the first time.

The owners will also be subject to a 10-year minimum occupation period, up from the five years for other flats, before they can sell their flats on the open market.

They will also not be allowed to put the whole flat up for rent after 10 years, unlike other flat owners, who can do so after five years under current rules.

The priority quota for flat allocation under HDB's Married Child Priority Scheme for the Rochor BTO project has also been reduced from the usual 30 per cent to 20 per cent. The scheme gives priority to first-time applicants whose parents or children live in the same area.

Prices start from $409,000, without grants, for a three-room flat, and $582,000 for a four-room flat. The project is estimated to be completed in the second quarter of 2028.

Besides the Rochor project, seven other BTO projects were launched for sale on Wednesday in the mature estate of Kallang/ Whampoa and the non-mature estates of Choa Chua Kang, Hougang, Jurong West and Tengah.

The majority of these remained undersubscribed as at yesterday evening, with the exception of Kent Heights in Kallang/Whampoa and two projects in Hougang.

In Kent Heights, 399 applicants are vying for 276 four-room flats, the biggest available flat type in the project. Prices start from $511,000, without grants.

The next most popular projects are Tanjong Tree Residences @ Hougang and Hougang Olive. The projects in Hougang drew slightly more applicants than the available units for both four-room and five-room flats.

In Jurong West, the Nanyang Opal project drew a lukewarm response, with just 27 applicants for 91 three-room flats and 94 applicants for 130 four-room flats.

Similarly, the three-room, four-room and five-room flats in Parc Glen @ Tengah and Parc Clover @ Tengah were undersubscribed. Both Tengah projects are slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2024, with an estimated waiting time of around 2½ years, making them among the fastest to be completed in this launch.

In Choa Chua Kang, the two-room flexi units at the Heart of Yew Tee drew more than three applicants for each of the 68 flats on offer. Prices start from $72,000, without grants, and only seniors aged 55 and above can apply for them. The two-room flexi flats in Tengah and Kallang/Whampoa were undersubscribed.

Applications close on Nov 23 at 11.59pm on the HDB flat portal. The flats will be allocated through balloting.

In February next year, about 3,900 flats will be offered in towns such as Geylang, Kallang/ Whampoa, Tengah and Yishun. Another 5,200 to 5,700 flats will be offered in towns such as Bukit Merah, Jurong West, Queenstown, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun in May.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2021, with the headline Strong demand for 4-room Rochor BTO flats under prime area model. Subscribe