Property consultants are expecting keen interest for 4,841 build-to-order (BTO) flats the Housing & Development Board (HDB) launched for sale on Wednesday.
These flats are spread across five projects - three in the non-mature towns of Hougang, Sembawang and Yishun, and two in the mature town of Tampines.
Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty Network, noted that more than half the units for sale are in the Tampines projects - Tampines GreenVerge and Tampines GreenView.
He said: "Although the Tampines flats are priced higher than those in other locations, we expect the Tampines to be a popular choice. This is due to its status as a regional centre and also its proximity to other key employment nodes such as Changi Airport and Changi Business Park.
"Young couples currently living with their parents in Tampines will also naturally be attracted to the new projects launched . . . This (profile group) should form a sizeable portion of the demand as those in their 20s and 30s constitute 30 per cent of Tampines' total population."
Another analyst added that there has been a hiatus in new flats released in Tampines. Tampines still has its stronghold as an illustrious, upmarket estate with comprehensive amenities, and it enjoys proximity to employment hubs in the East. This means good subletting demand for flats in Tampines and Pasir Ris. Flats in Tampines GreenVerge and GreenView will benefit in subletting demand when they are ready for subletting further down the road."
He expects application rates for most flat sizes in these two projects to exceed five times, up to as much as eight times.
Consultants agree that the other projects should also see healthy demand, as they are attractively priced.
Mr Lim said that the Canberra project is walking distance to the upcoming Canberra MRT station on the North-South Line. The Buangkok project, while slightly further away from the MRT station, is near a neighbourhood centre. Future road works will also improve accessibility.
The Yishun project will potentially have unblocked views towards the North, and the development is served by a network of buses, providing connectivity to the town centre and the rest of Singapore.
"Applicants who prefer a lower price quantum and higher chance of application would probably submit an application this time around for the units in Canberra, Buangkok and Yishun," he said.
HDB also said: "HDB's prices are considerably lower than transacted prices of comparable resale flats in the vicinity."
And National Development Minister Lawrence Wong also echoed the affordability of the flats in his Facebook post, saying: "More than three quarters of the units offered are four-room and smaller flats, and just under half are located in non-mature estates.
"A typical three-room flat price in a non-mature estate like Hougang (Buangkok Woods) is about S$185,000. Eligible first-timer couples can also benefit from housing grants of up to S$80,000. At these prices, first-time home buyers should be able to finance most or even all of the monthly loan instalment using CPF alone."
Application rates of at least 1.5 times for the Sembawang flats for most room types can be expected. The Yishun project may get an application rate of about 2-3 times, with higher rates for its two-room flexi flats. Units at the Buangkok Woods project may average an application rate of 3.5 times, with higher rates for the two-room flexi flats in Buangkok, due to singles' demand.
Applications for new flats launched in the latest exercise close on Aug 23, 2016. This is the third BTO launch this year, taking the total number of BTO flats offered to 12,781 units. Together with the 5,170 balance flats offered in May, HDB has offered close to 18,000 flats in 2016.
Come November, about 5,090 BTO flats in Bedok, Bidadari, Kallang Whampoa and Punggol will also be offered, together with about 5,000 sale of balance flats. Mr Lim said that because Bidadari, Kallang/Whampoa and Bedok are popular districts, some applicants may wait for the November launch instead.
Adapted from: The Business Times, 18 August 2016