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BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio most popular choice among homebuyers


(Photo: HDB)

Home-seekers made a rush for bigger build-to-order (BTO) flats in the mature estates of Ang Mo Kio and Tampines in a Housing Board sales exercise that concluded on Monday (Nov 18).

There were more than 13 first-time applicants lodged for each of the 235 four-room flats in Ang Mo Kio, the biggest unit type in the estate.

But the 87 three-room flats were less popular, attracting only around two applicants each.

It was much the same in Tampines with about 11 bids made for each of the 193 five-room flats and the 218 four-roomers.

But the 90 three-room flats drew only three applicants per unit.

Competition was sparse for bigger flats in the non-mature estate of Tengah.

The four- and five-roomers and three-generation flats had about two applicants for each of the units.

However, Tengah's three-room units had an application rate of 0.7 - meaning all applicants are likely guaranteed a flat.

The HDB launched 4,571 new BTO flats for sale last Tuesday (Nov 12) - the last and biggest BTO sales exercise for the year.

Prices, excluding grants, for a four-room flat in Ang Mo Kio start from $451,000. A five-roomer in Tampines goes from $508,000.

The sale exercise also included 3,599 units under the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) in 14 mature towns, such as Bishan and Clementi, and 11 non-mature towns, including Bukit Panjang and Punggol.

This was the second sales exercise after National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced bigger grants and higher income ceilings for first-time flat buyers.

Eligible buyers can tap the new Enhanced CPF Housing Grant of up to $80,000, which has no restrictions on the choice of flat type and location.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty, said: "The raised income ceiling means that more people are now eligible to buy new flats and naturally, these families are going for bigger units.

"They can afford it and they are also aware that the capital gains on the resale market for big units are larger."

He added that the timing of the latest launch - two months after the revised policy changes - may have contributed to the high demand.

The most popular flat type in the September sales round were the five-room units in Punggol, which attracted almost three applicants for each unit.

"Maybe people were not prepared for the previous sales exercise immediately after the changes so subscription rates then wasn't that high. Now people have more time to understand what they are eligible for, so more are applying," he said.

Written by Michelle Ng for The Straits Times.

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