(Five-room flats at Punggol Northshore Cove had the highest demand as of 5pm yesterday, with 878 applicants vying for just 170 units. PHOTO: HDB)
In the first BTO exercise for 2017, five-room flats in the Northshore Cove estate garnered 878 applicants vying for the 170 units available.
It is his fifth time applying for a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat but the chances of Mr Ang Teck Peng, 44, getting his desired five-room unit in Punggol are slimmer than before.
Five-room flats at Punggol Northshore Cove had the highest demand as of 5pm yesterday, with 878 applicants vying for just 170 units.
This works out to more than five hopeful buyers for each unit.
In the BTO exercise last November, there were 2.1 applicants for each five-room unit in Punggol.
Mr Ang, who was at the HDB Hub yesterday to submit his application, said Punggol is ideal because of the prospect of waterfront living and the amenities in the area.
First-timers posted the highest application rate for these units compared with other projects and flat types in Punggol, Clementi and Tampines, with more than three applicants gunning for each unit.
The latest BTO sales exercise, which began last Tuesday and ended at the stroke of midnight yesterday, attracted 12,704 applicants for the 4,056 BTO flats as of 5pm yesterday. It includes two-room flats and multi-generational homes in Punggol and the mature estates of Clementi and Tampines.
Property experts said Punggol is getting more popular with first- time homebuyers because of a combination of affordability and attractiveness of the neighbourhood.
ERA Realty key executive Eugene Lim said: "The LRT system, for instance, makes commuting easy and links residents to key developments in Punggol, such as Waterway Point."
PropNex Realty chief executive officer Ismail Gafoor agreed: "The high number of applicants reflects the appeal of Punggol as a new town with numerous upcoming amenities and waterfront-living lifestyle for new families."
But price is still the main factor, they noted. A four-room flat in Punggol costs $197,000 onwards, including grants. A similarly-sized unit in Tampines and Clementi will go for $294,000 and $273,000 respectively.
Of note is also the high second- timer application rates for the Punggol projects, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.
These could be people living in older estates like Hougang and Serangoon, and are looking to upgrade to a "newer and larger flat", he added. This is shown by the high application rate of second-timers for five-room Punggol units, which was 16.6 per unit at 5pm yesterday.
The next sales exercise will be in May, which will see the launch of 4,600 BTO flats in Bidadari, Geylang, Woodlands and Yishun.
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Article by Ng Jun Sen, originally appeared in The Straits Times.