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HDB to launch about 4,500 BTO flats, new projects under prime area model in May exercise

HDB to launch about 4,500 BTO flats, new projects under prime area model in May exercise

A BTO project under construction. (File photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: About 4,500 flats and two new projects under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model will be launched in the May 2022 Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise.

The units will be in five towns - Bukit Merah, Jurong West, Queenstown, Toa Payoh and Yishun - said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in a Facebook post on Monday (May 23).

Mr Lee added that one of the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) Bukit Merah projects will be launched in August instead of May as “more time is needed to review the project and to better spread out the location of projects in mature and non-mature estates at each launch”.

“Overall, HDB is on track to launch up to 23,000 new flats this year,” he said.

A “sizeable” number of units in the May BTO exercise will be in mature estates to meet the “strong demand for flats”, Mr Lee added.

“They will better cater for young families who wish to live near their parents already staying in existing mature estates, for better mutual care and support,” he said.

Mr Lee also said that the application rates for projects in mature estates are expected to remain high.

Flat buyers are encouraged to consider applying for BTO flats located in non-mature estates such as Jurong West and Yishun where the application rates are “generally lower” compared to mature estates, he added.

The BTO launch will also see a concurrent Sale of Balance Flats exercise, which will offer units across various towns and estates islandwide.

“These flats are already under construction; some have even been completed. So, buyers can look forward to getting their flats earlier,” Mr Lee said.

PROJECTS UNDER PRIME LOCATION MODEL

HDB will also launch two projects under the PLH model in the BTO exercise following “strong response” to those launched so far, he added.  

The PLH model was launched last year to ensure that all HDB flats, including those located in prime and central locations, remain affordable and accessible over time.

“We will continue to assess the project’s locational attributes and market values, and continue to offer PLH projects in future sales exercises, if there are available and suitable sites,” said Mr Lee.

Analysts predict that the two new PLH projects could be in Bukit Merah and Queenstown.

Some five-room flats such as City Vue @ Henderson and Ghim Moh Valley have exceeded S$1 million, said Huttons Asia's senior director for research Lee Sze Teck, adding that there may be more million-dollar flat transactions in the coming months.

“Planning two PLH BTOs at Bukit Merah and Queenstown is sending a signal to the market that there will be affordable BTO flats and perhaps curb the possibility of more record breaking HDB flat prices,” he said.

Huttons estimates that four-room flats at Bukit Merah and Queenstown could start from S$560,000 and S$500,000 respectively.

Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, also noted that the two areas will be “highly popular” with buyers, adding that fewer new HDB flats are being built in the Bukit Merah and Holland Village areas.

Ms Sun said that many Singaporeans are drawn to PLH model flats for their prime location, good price appreciation and design features.

“The popularity of the previous two PLH sites shows that many people are keen to purchase a PLH model flat despite the longer minimum occupation period and more stringent selling criteria. Perhaps more supply has been released into the market to meet the growing demand for such flats,” she added.

Based on the current trend, PLH model flats may become a norm and more of such flats could be released in every launch or at least twice a year, said Ms Sun.

Meanwhile, the selection exercise for the first PLH project at River Peaks I and II in Rochor is under way, he added.

“About 80 per cent of buyers who have been invited for the selection exercise thus far have proceeded to book their flats, higher than the average of 60 per cent for most BTO projects.” 

Image of the first PLH project launched in 2021, River Peaks I & II in Rochor. (Photo: HDB via Facebook/Desmond Lee)
Source: CNA/ng(ta)
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