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Strong demand for larger flats in August BTO exercise, with Tampines units most popular

Strong demand for larger flats in August BTO exercise, with Tampines units most popular

Artist impression of Sun Plaza Spring BTO project in Tampines. (Image: HDB)

SINGAPORE: Built-to-Order (BTO) flats in the mature estate of Tampines were the most popular in the August BTO exercise, with strong demand for larger five-room flats.

The latest BTO exercise closed at 11.59pm on Monday (Sep 5), with the final numbers updated on Tuesday afternoon. Seven projects were on offer in mature towns Tampines, Ang Mo Kio and Bukit Merah, and non-mature estates Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East and Woodlands. 

MATURE ESTATES

Five-room flats in Tampines were among the most popular this year, with 3,082 applicants for 117 flats. That means there were overall more than 26 applicants for each flat.

Only a four-room flat in Dakota Crest in Geylang, which was launched in February, was more popular this year.

Four-room flats in Tampines in the August BTO exercise also drew many applications, with 3,347 applicants for 150 such flats. 

In mature estates, at least 95 per cent of BTO supply is set aside for first-time families.

Units in Central Weave @ Ang Mo Kio were also in-demand. The four-room, five-room and 3Gen flats drew more than eight potential first-time buyers for each unit. 

Artist impression of Central Weave BTO project in Ang Mo Kio. (Image: HDB)

Two Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) projects in Bukit Merah - Alexandra Vale and Havelock Hillside - had more than 8,800 applicants for 1,651 units.

PLH flats have more stringent resale criteria, including a 10-year minimum occupation period (MOP). After the MOP, they can only be sold to buyers who meet prevailing BTO eligibility conditions, such as the income ceiling.

As PLH flats are priced with additional subsidies, buyers of flats at Havelock Hillside and Alexandra Vale have to return 6 per cent of the resale price or valuation to HDB.

Demand for BTO flats in mature estates

Central Weave @ Ang Mo Kio

Flat type Units Applicants 1st timers 2nd timers Overall
4-room 398 5,033 8.7 90.8 12.6
5-room/3 Gen 372 6,513 8.2 199.9 17.5

Sun Plaza Spring in Tampines

Flat type Units Applicants 1st timers 2nd timers Overall
4-room 150 3,347 17.2 127.4 22.3
5-room 117 3,082 18.5 201.2 26.3

Alexandra Vale and Havelock Hillside in Bukit Merah

Flat type Units Applicants 1st timers 2nd timers Overall
3-room 353 967 1.0 37.8 2.7
4-room 1,298 7,916 3.7 53.0 6.1

(Source: HDB)

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NON-MATURE ESTATES

In non-mature estates, four-room flats at Woodlands South Plains also drew strong demand. There were 11.7 applicants per four-room flat and 8.1 applicants per three-room flat.

In Jurong East, each four-room flat drew 6.7 applicants and there were 4.1 applicants per three-room flat. 

There were about 39,000 applicants in this exercise, which is about 46 per cent more than the applications in May's BTO exercise. HDB launched 4,993 BTO flats in August, compared to the 4,583 BTO flats in May.

"More buyers may have turned to the BTO market as prices of BTO flats are much more affordable than resale homes and private condominiums now," said Ms Christine Sun, OrangTee and Tie's senior vice president of research and analytics.

"There are also more units launched this time compared to the May BTO exercise. Many of these flats are in good locations, that is mature estates and near MRT stations."

Demand for BTO flats in non-mature estates

Keat Hong Grange in Choa Chu Kang

Flat type Units Applicants 1st timers 2nd timers Overall
3-room 96 220 1.2 8.6 2.3
4-room 374 733 1.5 11.5 2.0
5-room 323 919 2.0 19.9 2.8

Jurong East Breeze

Flat type Units Applicants 1st timers 2nd timers Overall
3-room 87 354 2.1 15.5 4.1
4-room 252 1,678 4.7 46.5 6.7

Woodlands South Plains

Flat type Units Applicants 1st timers 2nd timers Overall
3-room 87 709 4.4 29.4 8.1
4-room 268 3,131 9.3 58.8 11.7

(Source: HDB)

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She said that demand is stronger in Ang Mo Kio and Tampines because these places are in mature estates. The Tampines project has one of the shortest completion periods - about 36 months - and is set to be ready by the second quarter of 2026.

"We noticed that five-room flats are very popular among buyers this time around. This could be due to fewer new five-room flats released in mature estates in recent launches."

Mr Mohan Sandrasegeran, senior analyst at One Global Group, said that Sun Plaza Spring in Tampines had the lowest number of flats offered in this BTO exercise.

"As a result, given the reduced number of units and the growing need for larger spaces, strong competition was seen for these flats," he said.

He said that the application rates for Alexandra Vale and Havelock Hillside appeared "lacklustre", possibly because of the longer MOP and longer completion rates for these projects.

"It is likely potential home applicants and younger couples looking for a shorter wait to occupy their flats, might have shifted their attention towards the other BTO flats that were offered."

Mr Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty said that Woodlands South Plains likely stood out for applicants because of the project’s location – it is almost at the doorstep of Woodlands South MRT station. The pricing was affordable and it is close to the Woodlands Regional Centre, he added.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) said that despite continued strong demand for BTO flats, first-timers have a good chance of securing a flat as the "vast majority" have been set aside for first-timer applicants.

From the August BTO exercise, more units in non-mature estates were set aside for first-time applicants. At least 95 per cent of four-room and larger flats are reserved for first-time families, and at least 85 per cent of three-room BTO flats are for first-time families.

Artist impression of Jurong East Breeze BTO project. (Image: HDB)

HDB said on Monday that among the seven BTO projects launched, six projects had first-timer application rates of two or lower for one or more flat types.

"In particular, majority of first-timer applicants across the different flat types who applied for Keat Hong Grange project in Choa Chu Kang will have a good chance of securing a flat," said HDB.

This is because of the average 40 per cent rejection rate at the flat selection stage, and the "relatively low" first-time application rates across various flat types in non-mature estates.

The next BTO sales exercise is scheduled for November. HDB will offer about 9,500 BTO flats in towns and estates such as Bukit Batok, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown, Tengah and Yishun.

HDB aims to launch up to 23,000 new flats this year.

Source: CNA/hm(mi)
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