HDB gets 5,700 applications for 490 flats in April sale

The Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) April sale of four-room and bigger flats closed on Wednesday, with 5,700 applications for the 490 flats offered.

These flats are located in various towns such as Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Sembawang, Woodlands and Yishun.

HDB said the take-up rates for its Bi-monthly Sales Exercise are high because the flats offered are completed or nearing completion.

However, it noted that while there is a high number of applications for its unsold stock, a significant number of applicants under the Built-To-Order (BTO) scheme does not end up purchasing a flat.

For instance, there were 1,284 applications received for 698 4-room flats offered under the September 2007 BTO project at Coral Spring in Sengkang. However, more than 200 flats remained unsold after all the applicants in this project were invited to select a unit.

So HDB is currently reviewing the flat application system, following feedback that non-serious applicants are crowding out those with more pressing housing needs.

HDB flats are now mainly sold through the BTO system, where projects are built only when a majority of units are booked. As these BTO flats take about three years to be complete, buyers are advised to plan ahead for their housing needs.

Couples who are planning to get married are encouraged to take advantage of HDB’s Fiance-fiancée Scheme to book their BTO flats early, to reduce the waiting time for a new flat upon marriage.

From April to September, HDB plans to offer 5,000 new BTO flats in towns such as Punggol, Sengkang, Woodlands and Bukit Panjang. The next two BTO launches will be in Punggol and Sengkang at the end of April.

HDB has also advised urgent buyers to consider resale flats in the open market where eligible first-time buyers can apply for the S$30,000 CPF Housing Grant.

First-timers who buy a resale flat to stay with or near their parents are also entitled to a higher grant of S$40,000. – CNA/vm

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 17 Apr 2008

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