Verandah @ Kallang (pictured) is one of two Prime Location Public Housing projects in the October 2023 BTO exercise (Picture: HDB)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - HDB has launched 6,800 flats for sale under the October 2023 Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise, higher than the 5,495 flats put up for sale in May. The flats are spread across six projects over four towns — Queenstown, Kallang-Whampoa, Choa Chu Kang and Tengah.
This is the first BTO exercise where the change of rules penalising non-selection of flats will be implemented. First-timer applicants who reject their chance in booking a flat when invited to do so will be considered a second-timer with lower priority for a year. Meanwhile, second-timers who have one non-selection count will have to wait one year before they can apply for a flat again.
HDB will also be rolling out a new priority category, the First-Timer (Parents & Married Couples) from the October BTO exercise which will provide more support for this segment of flat applicants, including an additional ballot chance for eligible applicants.
Given these new measures, the October exercise may see fewer applicants trying their luck, bolstering chances for first-time buyers, notes Lee Sze Teck, senior director of data analytics at Huttons Asia.
Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie concurs. “We expect a drop in applicants since those not ready to commit to a purchase or are uncertain about their buying decision will unlikely apply for a flat now,” she says.
However, demand for BTOs may also be impacted by the estate reclassification that was announced during the National Day Rally 2023. From 2H2024, new BTO flats will be reclassified as Prime, Plus and Standard flats. Prime and Plus flats will be subjected to a longer minimum occupation period (MOP), subsidy clawbacks and more stringent resale criteria. As a result, some buyers looking to avoid the tighter restrictions may try to obtain a flat ahead of the reclassification, says Sun.
Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty has a similar view. “We may see a higher subscription rate for projects in “Plus” equivalent locations, as these flats could well be the last batches of new flats in choice sites that are sold with the standard five-year MOP,” he says.
Two of the six projects in the October 2023 BTO exercise are designated as Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) projects. In Kallang-Whampoa, Verandah @ Kallang will offer 1,143 units of two-room Flexi, three- and four-room flats. Prices start from $193,000, $368,000 and $535,000 respectively, excluding grants.
PropNex’s Gafoor expects the project to see strong interest given its city fringe location within walking distance of Kallang MRT Station. He notes that in the November 2022 BTO exercise, Kallang Horizon, a 477-unit PLH project just next to Kallang MRT Station, was oversubscribed with an application rate of 10.7 times.
The second PLH project is Tanglin Halt Cascadia, located in Queenstown. It offers 973 units of three-room flats from $364,000 and four-room flats from $537,000. The project is minutes’ walk away from the Commonwealth MRT Station.
Among the four remaining BTO sites, two are located in Kallang-Whampoa. Rajah Residences, located on a site bounded by Jalan Rajah and Kim Keat Road, Rajah Residences, has 739 units of two-room Flexi and four-room flats. At another site along Jalan Tenteram, Tenteram Vantage will house 1,040 units of three- and four-room flats. Prices start from $176,000 for a two-room-Flexi flat, from $339,000 for a three-room flat, and from $480,000 for a four-room flat, excluding grants.
In Choa Chu Kang, Rail Green I & II represents the largest site in the October BTO exercise. Comprising 12 residential blocks, it houses 1,895 units of two-room Flexi, three-, four- five-room and 3Gen flats. The flats have starting prices from $106,000, $216,000, $319,000, $463,000 and $471,000 respectively. This is the first BTO project to be integrated with the Rail Corridor, notes Huttons’ Lee.
In Tengah, Plantation Edge I & II offers 1,010 units of two-room Flexi, three-, four- and five-room flats. Prices start from $114,000, $232,000, $353,000 and $460,000 respectively. The project is located in front of the future Tengah Park MRT Station on the Jurong Region Line which is slated to open in 2028. PropNex’s Gafoor also points out that the site has the shortest waiting time of 36 to 40 months (around three years), which would attract applicants looking for a shorter wait time.
In totality, Gafoor estimates the overall application rate for the October BTO exercise could range between four to six times, with stronger interest in the two PLH projects. He also anticipates healthy interest in the Tengah project, given its proximity to the MRT station.
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