New PLH projects in Bukit Merah and Queenstown under May BTO exercise

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May 27, 2022 1:20 PM SGT
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Ghim Moh Ascent, one of the new PLH projects, is located in Queenstown. The 867-unit development will comprise three- and four-room flats. (Picture: HDB).
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Two upcoming prime location public housing (PLH) project have been launched as part of the latest May Build-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises. Applications for the flats are open and will last until June 2.
The two PLH projects are Bukit Merah Ridge and Ghim Moh Ascent. They are the third and fourth developments to be launched under the model. In a May 27 announcement, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced that the May sales exercise includes 6,535 flats. There are 4,583 BTO flats spread across five projects that span mature and non-mature estates. The estates are Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Toa Payoh, Jurong West and Yishun. Additionally, another 1,952 flats have been offered under the SBF sales exercise.
HDB says that the projects in Jurong West and Yishun come with relatively shorter waiting times of about 3.8 years, and they are in non-mature estates which tend to see lower application rates.
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table 1 - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
“The strong demand for HDB resale flats and skyrocketing HDB resale prices prompted the Singapore government to significantly increase supply of new flats. As a result, the number of BTO flats launched in May 2022 is about 13.8% higher than that of February 2022,” says Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty. (Find HDB flats for rent or sale with our Singapore HDB directory)
Research by PropNex Realty expects the two PLH projects to have an estimated waiting time of 60 months, while the other BTO projects have a waiting time that range from 55 to 39 months.

Upcoming projects

HDB says that up to 20% of the PLH projects — future HDB flats built in prime locations to be subjected to a 10-year minimum occupation period (MOP) and where additional subsidies will be recouped by the government upon their resale — offered in this exercise will be set aside for first-timer families, while up to 2% will be set aside for second-timer families under the Married Child Priority Scheme. These allocations represent two-thirds of the usual quotas.
The usual priority quotas for other BTO flats in mature estates are up to 30% for first-timer families, and up to 3% for second -timer families. This reduced quoted, says HDB, will provide more opportunities for Singaporeans who do not have family members living near the area to live in these locations.
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The Bukit Merah project will be called Bukit Merah Ridge, a 1,669-development which will consist of three- and four-room flats. HDB says the selling price (excluding grants) of a three-room flat there will cost $377,000 while a four-room flat will cost $540,000.
Bukit Merah Ridge - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Bukit Merah Ridge, a 1,669-development which will consist of three- and four-room flats. (Picture: HDB)
The second PLH development, Ghim Moh Ascent, is located in Queenstown. The 867-unit development will comprise three- and four-room flats. The selling price (excluding grants) of a three-room flat will be $369,000 while a four-room will be priced $511,000. Ghim Moh Ascent will also be located at the Health District @ Queenstown, which HDB says is a “first-of-its-kind” project aimed at enhancing “the health and well-being of residents across their life stages.”
Huttons Asia expects that the overall application rate for these two PLH projects could exceed 10, taking cue from the two previously launched PLH projects which showed that the subsidy recovery and longer MOP “are not a deterrent… the additional subsidises will make buying a flat in mature estate easier. The long completion period is also unlikely to deter applicants,” the real estate agency says.
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Million-dollar flats in the vicinity

The latest PLH projects are located in estates that have seen several million-dollar HDB resale transactions recently. According to data from ERA, since January last year there have been 34 HDB resale flats in Bukit Merah and 52 resale flats in Queenstown that have changed hands for more than $1 million or more. In comparison, only 28 million-dollar HDB resale flats were sold in Kallang and Whampoa, where the second PLH project is located.
“New BTO flats in prime locations are hard to come by and their long term investment potential far outweighs the stringent criteria faced by owners of PLH model flats,” says Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie. She adds that unsuccessful applicants for the past two PLH model flats may retry this time again, given that the launch periods are quite close.
Meanwhile, ERA Realty’s Mak says that the government could be trying to attract more homebuyers from the resale market with the well-located BTO projects (in this sales exercise). “Each household that commits to buy a BTO flat would result in one fewer household that would buy a resale flat. If more buyers are drawn to the BTO projects, it could gradually cool the HDB resale demand and prices to a more sustainable rate of growth,” he adds.
Two more BTO exercises are expected later this year. In August, HDB will offer about 4,900 BTO flats in estates such as Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, Tampines and Woodlands.
In November, another 9,500 flats will also be offered in estates such as Bukit Batok, Kallang and Whampoa, Queenstown and Yishun. However, the number of flats in the November exercise could change before the launch date. In total, HDB says it is on track to launch up to 23,000 new flats for this year.

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