DBSS flats to remain relevant: analysts

There will still be demand for more expensive public housing such as the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats.

That’s the view of property analysts, following the recent debate over the pricing of such flats and the relevance of the scheme.

A five-room flat at the new DBSS Centrale 8 near the Tampines Regional Centre costs up to S$778,000.

A previous indicative price had been set at S$880,000, causing market watchers to question the pricing band of such flats.

Analysts said that at the moment, due to an overwhelming demand for more affordable housing, DBSS flats should take a backseat to allow for cheaper
build-to-order (BTO) flats.

Ku Swee Yong, CEO of International Property Advisor, said: “In our current context, where we are short of affordable homes to the tune of 15,000 to 20,000 more a year, and the minister is also trying to ramp up more and faster construction of HDB flats, perhaps the DBSS scheme is not valid for a while. When the market supply and demand situation is a bit more balanced, we can then put up the DBSS scheme for consideration again.”

The Ministry of National Development said the DBSS flats were introduced with better design and finishes desired by higher-income flat buyers. The ministry added that while the DBSS flats account for a small proportion of public housing, they are well appreciated by buyers.

Adora Green, the first DBSS development in Yishun launched in November last year, was 96 percent sold. Flats there were priced between S$330,000 and S$650,000.

Analysts note that DBSS flats will continue to attract buyers, if they are priced “sensibly”.

Nicholas Mak, executive director for research & consultancy at SLP International, said: “There is still a place in the present market for the DBSS flats, provided they are priced quite sensibly. Because some buyers may want to have a new flat that is designed by private developers. Private developers, in a competitive market, may engage some creative designers or architects that are a bit different or can give certain value that consumers may be willing to accept.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 22 Jun 2011

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