Largest-ever BTO launch

The HDB is offering homebuyers close to 4,000 new flats in six Build-to-Order (BTO) projects launched on Friday – the largest supply of BTO flats in a single launch.

It surpasses the 3,185 BTO flats offered last month.

The BTO projects launched on Friday are at Costa Ris and Golden Lily in Pasir Ris, Punggol Parcvista, Tampines GreenLeaf, Tampines GreenWood, and Woodlands Peak.

At least 95 per cent of the public flat supply will be set aside for first-time buyers.

HDB said Friday’s launch offers flats in various locations and sizes to meet the different needs of home-seekers – low-income families, those aspiring for something better, and the elderly.

Prices range from S$76,000 for a studio apartment and from S$335,000 for a 5-room unit.

First-time buyers can take advantage of various housing grants to reduce the cost of owning a new BTO flat.

For instance, households earning up to S$5,000 per month can apply for the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) worth up to S$40,000, which can be used to offset the initial downpayment.

Over and above the AHG, first-timer families earning between S$1,501 and S$2,250 monthly can also apply for the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) if they choose to buy a 3-room standard flat in Punggol Parcvista and Woodlands Peak.

With Friday’s launch, HDB has released about 12,000 BTO flats in the first five months of 2011. This is more than half of HDB’s earlier target of launching 22,000 flats for 2011.

In view of strong demand, HDB is ramping up its flat supply by a further 3,000 flats for this year.

This increases the full-year’s BTO supply for 2011 by about 15 per cent, to 25,000 units. This is more than the number of units in Clementi town today.

HDB had announced earlier that 22,000 new BTO flats will be launched this year. All of these will now be launched by September 2011 instead of by the end of the year.

The BTO supply will be supplemented by housing units offered under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) and the Executive Condominium (EC) Housing Scheme.

For 2011, land sites for 4,000 DBSS flats and 4,000 EC units are scheduled for sale.

Commenting on the BTO launch, PropNex corporate communications manager Mr Adam Tan said: “The government has certainly responded to the public’s demand for affordable housing, especially for first-time buyers. This is especially so, given that at least 95% of the units, or 3,759 flats, will be set aside for these first-timers.”

He noted that Cash Over Valuation or COV prices are bottoming out at around $21,000 “and many first-time buyers will still be priced out of the resale market”. Therefore, there will be relief among this group from the bumper crop of BTO flats.

Mr Tan also said the government is heeding the demand from first-time buyers who are asking for more BTO flats in a greater variety of areas. He noted that the six BTO projects are spread out over four estates, namely Punggol, Pasir Ris, Tampines and Woodlands, giving first-time buyers plenty of choices in relatively popular neighbourhoods.

Mr Tan said the projects should see a huge take-up rate from potential buyers as they are in estates which are rather well-developed.

They are also going at prices around 14% to 35% cheaper than similar resale flats in their areas, based on the transactions conducted in the first three months of this year.

“The 3-room flats in Tampines GreenLeaf and Tampines GreenWood, for example, are a whopping 35% cheaper than resale flats in that town,” revealed Mr Tan, “and should therefore be very popular with the first-time buyers with a tight budget. For the reason of cost-effective pricing, the flats in Punggol Parcvista and Woodlands Peak should also see high subscription rates, having prices between 25% and 30% cheaper than similar flats in the vicinity.”

Propnex also described as bold the move by HDB to offer 15 per cent more BTO flats this year than planned.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 27 May 2011

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