HDB launches nearly 3,900 BTO flats; ongoing projects could face further delays amid COVID-19 border measures

HDB launches nearly 3,900 BTO flats; ongoing projects could face further delays amid COVID-19 border measures

The Housing Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (May 25) launched 3,879 build-to-order (BTO) flats across four projects in Bukit Merah, Geylang, Tengah and Woodlands. Natasha Razak has more.

SINGAPORE: The Housing Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (May 25) launched 3,879 build-to-order (BTO) flats across four projects in Bukit Merah, Geylang, Tengah and Woodlands. 

It also said that ongoing BTO projects could be further delayed due to tightened COVID-19 border measures affecting the construction sector.

In a press release, HDB said the flats under the May launch - the second sales exercise this year - comprise Telok Blangah Beacon and MacPherson Weave in the mature towns as well as Garden Bloom @ Tengah and Woodgrove Ascent in the non-mature towns.

Units on offer range from two-room flexi to five-room flats, meeting "the diverse housing needs of first-timers, second-timer families, seniors and singles", said HDB.

Prices start from S$98,000 for a two-room flexi flat at Woodgrove Ascent to S$710,000 for a four-room flat at Telok Blangah Beacon.

"Due to site conditions and the requirement for building contractors to adhere to strict safe management measures to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 at construction sites, some projects may take longer than usual to complete," said HDB.

"Those who are in urgent need of housing may consider buying a resale flat instead where first-time buyers may enjoy up to S$160,000 in housing grants."

HDB will also offer 2,494 units in various towns and estates under the sale-of-balance-flat exercise.

POSSIBLE FURTHER DELAY TO ONGOING PROJECTS

"Following the tighter border measures affecting the construction sector, we expect the completion of some BTO projects to be further delayed," said HDB.

It said the six- to nine-month delay previously communicated could be extended by another three months or more, "depending on how prolonged the situation is, and barring other unforeseen circumstances".

"The extent of the delay varies with each BTO project, and depends on site-specific factors such as manpower availability, the contractor’s performance and materials supply," it added.

"HDB is also working with various agencies on mitigating measures to reduce the length of delays. This includes getting exemptions to allow less noisy construction activities to be carried out on Sundays and public holidays where possible," said the agency.

READ: BTO projects expected 'to be delayed' by a year or more due to tightened COVID-19 border measures

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The tightened border measures include longer stay-home notice periods for all travellers from higher-risk places, and a ban on short-term visitors and long-term pass holders with recent travel history from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the delays amid the "evolving COVID-19 situation", Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said "it is important that building contractors continue to adhere to strict safe management measures to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 transmission at construction sites and dormitories".

"For those who are currently waiting for your BTO flats, I would like to reassure you that HDB is working hard to keep BTO projects on track, and will keep you informed on the construction progress," Mr Lee said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

"For those unable to find alternative housing arrangements in the interim with family members, relatives or on the open market, please reach out to HDB for assistance," he added.

Commentary: Some pain even as Singapore rises to the challenge of tighter COVID-19 measures

READ: Singapore maintains 2021 GDP forecast at 4% to 6% due to ‘heightened uncertainties’ from COVID-19

UPCOMING BTO LAUNCHES

About 4,900 BTO flats will be offered in August in Hougang, Jurong East, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown and Tampines, said HDB.

Another 3,100 to 3,600 BTO flats will be launched in November in Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong West, Kallang Whampoa and Tengah.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, HDB is monitoring the situation, and will make adjustments where necessary."

Source: CNA/jt(ta)

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