Be prepared for lower success rates for mature estate flats in May’s BTO exercise: Lawrence Wong

SINGAPORE’S Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Tuesday sought to temper expectations for the Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in mature estates such as Ang Mo Kio and Bedok, launched in May’s exercise.

Of the 3,770 units launched, about 950 are in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok. The rest are in Sembawang and Bukit Panjang.

In a blog post, Mr Wong said: “I know many buyers have been looking forward to this launch, as it has been more than three years since HDB last offered BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, and Bukit Panjang.”

From the last two BTO launches, it was quite clear that the flats in mature estates such as Bidadari attracted the most overwhelming interest.

“Building on this, HDB is offering more options of BTO flats in mature estates such as Ang Mo Kio and Bedok,” he said.

But he added: “But given their popularity, application rates for these mature estate flats are expected to be high, which means a lower chance of success. So applicants have to be prepared for this.”

He also encouraged young couples to apply for BTO flats in non-mature estates, as they are generally more affordable and come with more grants.

“For example, a three-room flat starts from S$147,000 before grants, or S$77,000 after grants. By opting for a three-room flat in Sembawang instead of one in a mature estate like Bedok, you get to save more than S$100,000 instantly, which you could set aside for renovation and more. You will also enjoy a much higher chance of success in your application,” he said.

He also attempted to debunk the perception that flats in non-mature estates are inconvenient and not as well served by transport connections, or other amenities and facilities.

“There are significant development plans in many of these areas, which potential home buyers should take into consideration. Also, our efforts to decentralise our urban development and build commercial centres outside the city will create more investments and jobs closer to homes in these areas,” he said.

He added that a “non-mature” estate today can also become a “mature” estate in future, and gave the example of how his own parents bought a Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat in Marine Parade in the 1970s when the area was a new town with few amenities. The estate has developed tremendously over time.

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