Boon Keng bonanza

Demand for ‘condo-like’ HDB flats outstrip supply by five times.

APPLICATIONS for the second batch of condo-like HDB flats, near Boon Keng MRT station, closed yesterday, with demand outstripping supply by five times.

As of 6pm yesterday, City View @ Boon Keng, part of HDB’s Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), attracted 3,499 applications for the 714 flats up for sale.

About 50 more applications were expected before the deadline at midnight, said Mr Wong Chee Herng, spokesperson for the developer, Hoi Hup Sunway Development consortium.

While Mr Wong considered the response good and “within our expectation”, the numbers pale in comparison with the first DBSS project, The Premiere @ Tampines.

Launched in October 2006 and developed by Sim Lian Land, the Premiere attracted 5,700 applications for its 616 units, consisting largely of five-room flats priced between $308,000 and $450,000. Prices for its two-room units start from $138,000.

City View @ Boon Keng consists of three 40-storey blocks of three, four and five-room flats priced between $349,000 and $727,000. The average price per square foot is $520. And the development has a more central location on the fringes of the city, and extra features like air-conditioning in the living and dining areas, instead of just the bedrooms.

Some potential homebuyers told Today that they were deterred by the prices, which exceeded their budget for a HDB flat.

But there were those who felt that the good location and pleasant sea and city views were worth paying a premium for.

“Prices are a little steep but it’s near the MRT and you can see the sea from some units,” said Ms Marlinah Abdullah, 30, who was at City View’s showflat with fiance Idris Osman, 34.

“If not for the sea view, I wouldn’t have come today,” said Mr Idris, a project manager with a shipbuilding company. “We may apply for it, depending on what (Marlinah) says,” he added.

Ms See H S, a 28-year-old buyer in the semiconductor industry, applied for a flat even without visiting the showflat because she thought it was a good investment. The view, she added, would be a plus “especially if I sell the house in the future”.

Under the DBSS, private developers get to design, build, price and sell the flats but have to adhere to public housing guidelines. For example, the flats are subject to ethnic quotas and can be sold only to households earning no more than $8,000 per month.

Source : Today – 17 Jan 2008

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