SINGAPORE - New Housing Board flats were launched in two northern towns, but those at Punggol garnered more attention than the ones in Yishun.
As of 5pm on Monday (Sept 3), there were 5,608 applications for 1,221 three-room and larger Build-to-Order (BTO) flats - 4.6 times as many - in the newly launched waterfront district of Punggol Point, the most north-eastern part of the town where it meets the Johor Strait.
In contrast, there were just 60 per cent as many applications as the four-room flats in Yishun, and 90 per cent as many as the five-room flats.
Only three-room flats were oversubscribed 1.5 times, compared with 2.8 times for the same flat type in Punggol.
Altogether, there were 6,620 applicants for 2,475 three-room and larger BTO flats.
ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said the difference in application rates was not surprising, as Punggol is popular with the younger crowd, while Yishun "has a reputation as an old town".
He added that there might have been less cannibalisation if flats in the same region are split up.
"When you pair an attractive product with a normal one in the same area, of course the attention would be diverted," he said.
Punggol is particularly popular this time round because some flats offer views of the Johor Strait. Sea views are extremely rare for HDB flats, and may help to fetch higher prices later, observers said.
"This product practically sells itself," said Mr Lim.
Also, the new homes are next to the upcoming Punggol Coast MRT station and an existing LRT station of the same name, while the Yishun flats are much further from Yishun MRT station.
ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak said the disparity - the application rates for flats in Punggol was two to six times higher than in Yishun - signals that applicants can now afford to be choosy.
"It might mean that potential buyers these days prefer flats that have better chances for price appreciation in the near future," he said, adding that the HDB may wish to slow down the release of housing parcels in less popular towns.
Mr Lim also noted the particularly high application rate among second-timers for five-room and three-generational flats - 21.6 in Punggol. If this keeps up, he said, the HDB may wish to tweak the ratio to allow more second-timers a better shot of getting a right-sized home .
There were also 2,745 applications for 1,900 two-room flexi flats in both towns, with the application rate in Punggol double that of Yishun.
As for the 726 Re-Offer of Balance Flats available, which pools unsold flats of different sizes and locations, there were 4,929 applications. But Mr Mak cautioned that many applicants might just be trying their luck and some flats may continue to go unsold.