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HDB launches 4,381 HDB flats in February

Artist’s impression of the Tampines GreenFoliage BTO project. (Photo: HDB)

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) launched 4,381 flats for sale on Tuesday (6 February) under its latest sales exercise. This includes 3,664 Build-To-Order (BTO) and 717 balance flats.

The BTO flats will be spread across five projects in Choa Chu Kang, Woodlands, Geylang and Tampines. They range from 2-room Flexi to 5-room flats.

SEE ALSO: Ultimate BTO guide

Prices range from $ 71,000 for a 2-room Flexi flat at Woodlands Glade to $ 429,000 for a 4-room unit at Ubi Grove in Geylang, excluding housing grants.

HDB said that eligible first-timer families can enjoy up to $ 80,000 of grants, comprising the Additional CPF Housing Grant (up to $ 40,000) and the Special CPF Housing Grant (up to $ 40,000). This means that buyers could pay as little as $ 4,000 for a 2-room Flexi flat.

Feb 2018 BTO prices

Source: Housing and Development Board

Eugene Lim, Key Executive Officer at ERA Realty, noted that the most popular estates are expected to be Choa Chu Kang and Geylang.

“The Choa Chu Kang flats are located beside Bukit Panjang MRT station, and is well-served by amenities such as Hillion Mall and Bukit Panjang Plaza.” With prices starting from $ 109,000 including grants for a 3-room flat, “the combination of affordability and convenience will be the main draw of the flats”, he said.

Lim noted that some potential applicants may be discouraged from applying for the Geylang flats as the majority are 4-room flats priced relatively higher from $ 424,000, including grants. “Nonetheless, due to its attractive location (beside Ubi MRT station), it is still expected to be a popular option,” he said. 

Meanwhile, applicants can submit their applications online on the HDB website from today till next Monday (12 February).

The next BTO launch in May will see about 3,900 flats in Sengkang, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun offered for sale. A concurrent sale of balance flats exercise will also be held. 

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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118 HDB flats involved in mortgagee sales

There had been 118 cases of completed mortgagee sales involving HDB flats from January 2013 to November 2017, according to a parliamentary reply from the Ministry of National Development on Wednesday (10 January).

It stated this in response to a question from Gan Thiam Poh, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Notably, mortgagee sales happen when people default on their housing loans, resulting in banks auctioning off the property to reclaim the amount they lent plus interest.

Gan also asked how many flat lessees have approached the Housing and Development Board (HDB) with the intention of selling their flats to the government agency, as they were unable to dispose the unit via the open market.

“HDB does not buy back flats from flat owners and does not keep records of requests by flat owners who wish to sell their flats to HDB,” replied the Ministry, adding that flat owners who have fulfilled the five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) are allowed to sell their units in the open market.

The Housing Board does not meddle in such transactions mutually agreed upon by the seller and buyer, it said in response to Gan’s query on how the government agency assists sellers in disposing their flats.

“HDB does, however, facilitate the sale of flats on the open market through measures such as publishing information on recent resale transactions on its website, and providing a resale checklist to guide sellers and buyers through the process.”

Furthermore, Gan asked how many flats have been sold by lessees with the sale proceeds being insufficient to return to their individual accounts with the Central Provident Fund (CPF).

The Ministry answered that these numbered about six percent of the total HDB flats transacted in the open market between January 2013 and November 2017.

 

This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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HDB to maintain a steady supply of flats next year, Wong

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will maintain a steady supply of around 17,000 new flats in 2018, comparable to the 17,584 flats launched this year, revealed Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

“We will continue to calibrate our flat supply carefully, taking into account underlying demand and the stability of the HDB resale market,” he said in a blog post.

Wong noted that around 1,000 flats will be launched in Yishun, Sembawang and Sengkang in the second half of 2018. The flats will have shorter waiting periods of around 2.5 years, instead of the usual three to four years for most other Build-to-Order (BTO) projects.

New flat buyers can expect a “good spread of projects across mature and non-mature estates, including flats in the new Tengah town”.

For this year, Wong said the government focused on helping first-timer families acquire their own home.

To help such couples better afford a flat in the open market, the government raised the Central Provident Fund Housing Grant from $ 30,000 to $ 40,000 or $ 50,000 in February 2017.

The enhanced grant has benefitted close to 6,900 first-timer households, said Wong.

The government also raised the rent subsidies for the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), benefiting around 840 households who are waiting for their new flats to be ready.

In August 2017, the government also launched the first Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise for those with urgent housing needs or who are not so particular about location.

“While the flat selection exercise is still ongoing, about 800 households have already managed to book a flat,” shared Wong.

“All these mean that young couples will have even more affordable and accessible housing options to start their marriage and parenthood journey early.”

 

This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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Overall subscription rate for BTO flats down in November

Tampines GreenCourt is nestled within the tranquil living environment of Tampines North, with several nearby parks.

Despite the robust demand seen for three- and four-room flats in Tampines and Geylang, the overall subscription rate for Build-to-Order (BTO) flats continued to fall during the November sales exercise, reported Today Online.

As at 5pm on 20 November (Monday), more than three applicants were vying for the four-room flats in Eunos Court at Geylang, or 1,848 applications for the 538 units offered.

Three-room flats in Tampines GreenCourt received 193 applications for the 186 units offered, while four-room flats in Northshore Edge at Punggol attracted 466 applications for the 192 units available.

PropNex’s chief executive officer Mohd Ismail attributed the strong demand in Geylang to its location, which is “much closer to town”.

“Also, people understand that a flat with good location… when it matures after the five-year minimum occupation period… tend to have a huge capital appreciation.”

Analysts, however, noted a continuing downward trend in the number of applications received for BTO flats.

The overall subscription rate for three-room and larger flats, for instance, fell to 1.5 from 1.7 during the August exercise. The rate stood at 2.9 in May and 3.3 in February.

“Overall application rate is fairly low, less than two times. This implies that homebuyers’ demand is been met,” said ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak.

“If HDB were to increase the supply of BTO flats next year, it could possibly lead to a glut in the near future,” he said.

Another reason cited for the lower subscription rate is the volume of flats offered.

“Homebuyers have a wide (variety of) choices, and there is relatively ample supply (of flats) this round… As long as HDB continues to provide adequate numbers, the subscription rate will tend to be relatively lower,” said Ismail.

 

This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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3 HDB flats resold for over $1mil

Despite a steady drop in HDB resale prices, at least three units in Holland Village and Commonwealth have been sold for more than $ 1 million so far this year, reported the Straits Times.

According to PropNex, one of them is a 36th-floor unit at Block 18D in Holland Drive that changed hands for $ 1.03 million in July. The other two are situated at Block 50, Commonwealth Drive. One fetched $ 1.028 million in August, while the other sold for $ 1.035 million in October.

PropNex property agent Michelle Chia, who was involved in the Holland Village deal, revealed that the unit was bought by a couple in their 20s, who were attracted by the “million-dollar view” of the landed properties in the vicinity and the flat’s nearness to many amenities like the Holland Village MRT station.

Surprisingly, the trio are just regular HDB flats and are not among those that have often commanded high prices, such as units in Pinnacle@Duxton, executive apartments and homes constructed under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS).

For instance, a DBSS penthouse at Bishan’s Natura Loft was sold for $ 1.18 million last February.

A Pinnacle@Duxton flat that fetched $ 1.12 million set a new record for the most expensive HDB resale transaction last year, while a five-roomer at Clementi Towers went for $ 1,005,000.

While Clementi Towers was the first HDB development fused with a shopping mall and bus interchange, HDB blocks in Commonwealth and Holland Village don’t enjoy such features as they were intended to house those displaced by the Housing Board’s Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

Meanwhile, a representative from PropNex noted that an HDB flat at Block 18C, Holland Drive changed hands for $ 975,000 in August

“We can expect prices at this block to be around this rate, possibly crossing the million-dollar mark again, in the near future, as buyers are prepared to pay over $ 1 million for the units’ size and their central location,” added the spokesman.

 

This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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