Application rates for first-timers rose marginally in the latest Build-To-Order flats sales exercise, the first BTO offering this year.
Applications close at midnight but overall as of 5pm, there were 2.2 first-timers applying for each new unit. This is higher than the 1.8 in the previous exercise in November last year.
It is also the first time since March last year that the application rate for first-timers has gone above two. The application rate then was 2.2.
A total of 3,346 new flats in six BTO projects were offered in the sales exercise.
The projects are in both the mature towns of Ang Mo Kio, Kallang-Whampoa and Tampines as well as in non-mature towns Choa Chu Kang, Hougang and Yishun.
Observers said the increase in first-timer application rates could be due partly to the introduction of the new Parenthood Priority Scheme.
Under the scheme, married couples with children under the age of 16 have priority when they apply for new flats for the first time. 30 per cent of flats are set aside for them.
Earlier, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan had revealed that the government has de-linked the prices of new flats sold by HDB from the resale flat market.
This could be contributing to the popularity of BTO flats, particularly those in mature estates, said Chief Executive Officer of PropNex, Mohamed Ismail.
Five-room flats in Ang Mo Kio were the most heavily subscribed.
There are 103 units of five-room flats on offer there. As of 5pm, there were 8.1 first-timer applicants and 91.2 second-timer applicants for each five-room unit in the Ang Mo Kio project.
“We can put it down to two reasons. One is because it is in a mature estate and the location is good. The other reason is that the number of flats (offered) is also low, only 283 (in total). Only five per cent is allocated for second timers, and if there are really a lot of upgraders who want to stay in Ang Mo Kio, naturally the numbers would be high because of the supply, which is low,” said Lee Sze Teck, senior manager for research and consultancy at Dennis Wee Group.
There was also strong demand for the project in Tampines. There were 4.9 first-timers and 45.8 second-timers applying for each four-room flat.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 4 Feb 2013