Queenstown PLH project sees application rate of 5.2 times in February BTO exercise

By Nicholas Lam
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
The site for the Queenstown BTO project, Tanglin Halt Courtyard, is currently occupied by Tanglin Halt Market (photo: Google Street View)
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HDB figures as of 5pm on Feb 28 show that 10,521 applications were received for the 4,126 built-to-order (BTO) flats under the February 2024 BTO exercise. It works out to an application rate of about 2.5 times.
The units were up for sale across seven projects in six estates — Queenstown, Bedok, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Punggol and Woodlands. The Tanglin Halt Courtyard project in Queenstown is the only one under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model.
The Tanglin Halt Courtyard is most likely the most popular project in this exercise, with 1,300 applicants for 251 units, or 5.2 times subscribed. The project's city fringe location, proximity to the MRT station, the Tanglin Halt estate rejuvenation, and the convenience offered as an integrated project are likely to attract applicants, says Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex.
Source: PropNex Research, HDB (*as at 28 February 2024, 5pm)
As a PLH project, flats in the Tanglin Halt Courtyard project are subject to the 8% clawback subsidy.
The February BTO exercise is the first of three launches scheduled for 2024, which will see 19,600 new flats launched this year.
The application rate in the latest BTO exercise is higher than that in the previous two exercises held in Oct and Dec of 2023 with 1.6 times and 2.2 times application rates, respectively.
The higher overall application rate for the Feb 2024 exercise could be due to HDB reducing the number of BTO exercises from four to three a year starting in 2024, says Lee Sze Teck, senior director of data analytics at Huttons Asia.
More available flats, shorter waiting times, and buyers wanting to apply before the new "plus housing" model of flats kicks in from October 2024 may also contribute to high application rates, Lee adds.
According to current application numbers, many first-timer families "stand a good chance" of securing a BTO flat, according to PropNex's Gafoor. He notes that first-timer subscription rates for four-room flats in Chua Chu Kang, Punggol, and Woodlands are less than two times subscribed.
The rates are even lower for three-room units, with most projects showing first-timer subscription rate of one or below.
Second-timer families will likely face more competition for their desired unit, continues Gafoor. As it stands, application rates for 4-room and bigger flats among second-timers were high even for non-mature projects like Hougang (24 times), Chua Chu Kang (16.7 times), Woodlands (10.6 times), and Punggol (10.4 times).
Interest in 5-room units was strong across all available projects. This indicates the need for more space post-pandemic, says Lee. There were 2,098 applications for the 680 five-room units offered in this exercise, marking an application rate of 3.1 times.
Meanwhile, Tanjong Tree Residences @ Hougang achieved the second-highest overall application rate of 4.0 times for the 360 flats launched for sale. Two other BTOs, Hougang Citrine and Kovan Wellspring, drew more than 10,000 applicants when they were launched in Aug 2021.
Lee reckons that unsatisfied demand from those projects could have led to the continued high interest in Tanjong Tree Residences @ Hougang. Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School is a short walk away, a plus point for parents with young children.
Two projects launched in Bedok in this exercise were Bedok South Bloom and Bedok North Spring. Combined, they saw 2,500 applications for the 961 units offered, translating to an overall subscription rate of 2.6 times. The last BTO launch in Bedok (Chai Chee Green) in December 2023 had an overall application rate of 1.2 times. Lee believes Bedok South Bloom and Bedok North Spring's proximity to Bedok Reservoir MRT station and Bedok Integrated Transport Hub may drive the strong demand.
Matilda Riverside in Punggol has the shortest completion time of any project in this exercise, receiving 2,074 applications for its 962 units, a 2.2 application rate.
Lee says BTOs in Woodlands tend to see many applicants for each launch, and Woodgrove Edge seems to be no exception. It has a 2.0 application rate for its 1,127 units.
Lastly, Rail Garden @ CCK has the lowest application rate compared to the other BTOs in Feb 2024. This may be due to the absence of 5-room flats and its proximity to the expressway and Gali Batu Depot, says Lee.
"Looking at the recent application rates for BTO flats, it seems like the demand for new public housing has largely stabilised", says Gafoor. He expects overall BTO launch application rates to generally range between 2 and 3 times, similar to pre-pandemic levels.
Applicants who are unsuccessful in their applications may look forward to June's BTO exercise, which will offer nearly 7,000 flats across six towns and seven projects.
Source: PropNex Research, HDB (information updated as at 28 February 2024)

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