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HDB launches nearly 5,000 BTO flats for sale in August, including Bukit Merah units under prime area model

The BTO flats will be spread across seven projects in both mature and non-mature estates - namely Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, Tampines and Woodlands.

02:56 Min
The Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (Aug 30) launched 4,993 flats for sale under its August Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise. Rebecca Metteo reports.

SINGAPORE: The Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (Aug 30) launched 4,993 flats for sale under its August Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise.

They will be spread across seven projects in both mature and non-mature estates - namely Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, Tampines and Woodlands.

The flats in Bukit Merah are being offered under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model, which comes with a 10-year minimum occupation period.

HDB said there is a wide selection of flats in the August launch to meet different budgets and needs.

In the non-mature estates, flat prices before housing grants start from S$97,000 for a two-room Flexi flat in Jurong East, S$188,000 for a three-room flat in Woodlands, and S$277,000 for a four-room flat in Choa Chu Kang.

Five-room flats in Choa Chu Kang start from S$390,000, said HDB.

Prices are higher in the mature estates, starting at S$198,000 before grants for a two-room Flexi flat in Ang Mo Kio. In Tampines, prices start at S$381,000 for a four-room flat and S$520,000 for a five-room flat.

Eligible families buying an HDB unit for the first time can benefit from the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) of up to S$80,000 to help with their new or resale flat purchase.

Flat prices in August 2022 BTO exercise. (Table: HDB)
View of Alexandra Vale, one of the two projects under the Prime Location Public Housing model. (Photo: HDB)

PROJECTS UNDER PRIME LOCATION MODEL IN BUKIT MERAH

Of the seven projects, two in Bukit Merah - Havelock Hillside and Alexandra Vale - are under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model.

The new housing model for public flats in prime areas was launched last year as part of efforts to keep housing in these locations accessible for Singaporeans.

On Tuesday, HDB says up to 20 per cent of the PLH flats in the two Bukit Merah projects will be set aside for first-timer families, and up to 2 per cent for second-timer families, under the Married Child Priority Scheme.

This is two-thirds of the usual quota.

“The reduced quota will provide more opportunities for Singaporeans who do not have family members living near the area to also have an opportunity to live in these locations,” said HDB.

Alexandra Vale also will be integrated with two-room rental flats to ensure an inclusive living environment, it added.

As PLH flats come with additional subsidies, owners will have to return to HDB a percentage of the resale price or valuation upon the sale of their flats, whichever is higher.

For Havelock Hillside and Alexandra Vale, the amount to be recovered from the flat buyers is fixed at 6 per cent and will apply regardless of when the flats are sold in future, said HDB.

This amount to be recovered is commensurate with the extent of the additional subsidy that has been provided.

Map of Bukit Merah with the two projects under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model. (Image: HDB)

Calling the new PLH projects "plum sites", Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, noted the good sales of previous projects under the model.

This indicates that many Singaporeans do not mind the stringent selling criteria and longer minimum occupation period of PLH model flats, said Ms Sun.

"Therefore, we expect these two projects to be similarly oversubscribed this time around," she added.

The two Bukit Merah projects are expected to see keen interest, said Huttons Asia's senior director for research Lee Sze Teck.

He noted that the Alexandra Vale site is next to Redhill MRT station, while Havelock Hillside is in a "prized location" close to the upcoming Havelock MRT station.

Since the PLH model was introduced, there have been six BTO projects under the model, said Mr Lee, adding: "PLH flats do not seem that exclusive anymore."

For this reason, Ms Sun said the subscription rate for the latest launches may not be as high as the first two launches.

"The pool of buyers may have shrunk as some eligible or interested buyers have already made a purchase in earlier launches," she added.

APPLYING FOR FLATS

HDB previously said it will set aside more BTO flats in non-mature estates for first-time homebuyers from the August BTO exercise, to address the strong demand from the group.

HDB encouraged buyers to apply for a BTO flat in the non-mature towns to enjoy a "higher chance of success" in securing a flat.

"There is no need to rush to submit applications within the first few hours or first few days of the application period", said the agency, as applicants will be shortlisted using a computer ballot instead of a first-come-first-served basis.

Flat buyers should take the estimated project completion timelines into consideration before applying for a flat, HDB added.

Projects with challenging site conditions, more complex designs, large number of units or higher storeys may take longer to complete, it said.

For the BTO projects launched in August 2022, the waiting time generally ranges from three to 5.7 years, HDB said on Tuesday.

The housing board also advised home buyers looking to move into their flats sooner to consider BTO projects in Choa Chu Kang, Tampines and Woodlands, such as flats at Keat Hong Grange, Sun Plaza Spring and Woodlands South Plains, as these have the shortest waiting times at 3.8 years or less.

Huttons' Mr Lee said that as the Woodlands South Plains BTO offers more allocation to first-timers, it offers an attractive option for buyers looking to secure their first home. 

He noted, however, that it is one of the rare projects in non-mature estates that do not have any five-room flats for sale.

To meet diverse housing needs, flats ranging from two-room Flexi to five-room and 3Gen flats are also being offered in this BTO exercise, said HDB.

Applications for flats launched in the August 2022 BTO exercise can be made online on HDB InfoWEB from Aug 30 to Sep 5.

Applicants can go for only one flat type or category in one town under the BTO exercise, said HDB.

Those who wish to take up an HDB housing loan for their flat purchase need to produce a valid HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter when they book a flat, except for young couples who are eligible for deferment of income assessment.

UPCOMING BTO LAUNCH

HDB also said it would offer about 9,500 BTO flats in towns and estates such as Bukit Batok, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown, Tengah and Yishun in November this year, with more details to be announced.

Overall, HDB is on track to launch up to 23,000 new flats in 2022.

In February 2023, HDB will then offer about 2,900 to 3,900 BTO flats in towns and estates such as Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown and Tengah.

“HDB will launch up to 23,000 new flats in 2023, and is prepared to launch up to 100,000 flats in total from 2021 to 2025 if needed, subject to prevailing demand,” said the board.

“HDB will continue to monitor the housing demand and adjust the plans where necessary.”

How much should you be spending on your first home?

Source: CNA/ng(jo)
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