Will it be a Champion?

Mixed views on whether pricing is attractive to buyers

THE first batch of HDB flats for this year has been launched, but do they reflect homebuyers‚ budgets in this downturn? And are their prices an indication of what to expect from other projects later this year?

Champion Court, at the junction of Champions Way and Woodlands Avenue 1, was launched yesterday under the Build-To-Order (BTO) system, where projects are only built when a certain level of demand is reached.

The 815 new flats include the first studio apartments in Woodlands and are priced below their equivalent market prices to ensure affordability, said the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

There are 182 three-room flats priced from $118,000 to $142,000, and 224 four-room flats with prices ranging from $194,000 to $227,000. Five-room flats – of which there are 185 – are from $247,000 to $296,000. The others are smaller studio apartments and three-room units.

Member of Parliament Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang) who raised the issue of affordable housing in Parliament recently, said Singaporeans could be paying under $100,000 for a three-room flat if they make use of Government grants.

PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail said he expects the project to be “five times oversubscribed” since prices are up to 40 per cent lower than resale flats in the area.

But Chesterton International‚s head of consultancy and research Colin Tan does not expect response to be good. Besides the less-than-ideal location, prices are not attractive enough for the smaller-sized apartments, he said.

Mr Tan said HDB should reconsider pricing some of its new flats “in far-flung suburban locations such as Woodlands” by about $20,000 to $30,000 lower.

But Dennis Wee Group‚s vice-president Chris Koh expects prices to remain constant since HDB should have “factored in” the long recession and “priced accordingly.”

HDB will launch some 3,000 BTO flats in the first half of this year, mostly in Ponggol.

Out of these, 1,400 will be smaller studio apartments, two- and three-room flats. It will also continue to monitor demand in other towns.

Applications can be submitted online at www.hdb.gov.sg until March 11.

Source : Today – 27 Feb 2009

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