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Buyers snap up new flats from HDB

  • HDB’S LATEST LAUNCH IN NORTH-EAST

  • NO. OF FLATS: 316

  • APPLICANTS: 1,700

    DEMAND for Housing Board flats has hit an all-time high.

    More than 1,700 applications were made for 316 new flats in the north-east zone released yesterday – just hours after the homes went on sale.

    In terms of sales, almost every unit of the HDB’s unsold stock, released once every two months, has been snapped up immediately.

    In the August and October sale of flats in established towns and in the north and west zones, the take-up rate was 100 per cent for the first time, said HDB.

    All 843 units offered in both sales were snapped up.

    Just three years ago, about 10,000 flats were languishing in the market unsold. But this figure had been slashed dramatically to 2,400 as at Oct 31, an HDB spokesman told The Straits Times.

    The flats released yesterday were the HDB’s fifth sale under its once-in-two-months sales scheme for four room and bigger flats, introduced in April to replace its previous walk-in selection system.

    Earlier this year, the old system drew flak when queues formed outside HDB Hub, sparking rumours that leaked tip-offs had been given to the early birds – a charge since refuted by the HDB.

    The new sales exercise has received very good response with a 96 per cent overall take-up rate of the 3,034 units released, said HDB.

    It said yesterday that ‘the robust property market has given rise to strong demand for HDB flats’. HDB’s latest launch offers 233 four-room, 57 five-room and 26 executive flats in Hougang, Punggol and Sengkang.

    The prices range from $142,000 for a four-room flat in Hougang, to $358,000 for an executive flat in Sengkang.

    Half of the 316 flats are ready and the other half are being built. They include new, unsold and repurchased units. Interested buyers can submit their applications online before next Monday, said HDB.

    High demand may mean HDB is clearing its backlog, but newly-wed first-timers such as operations officer Mohammed Samsudin, 29, struggle to get that dream home.

Yesterday was Mr Mohammed’s eighth attempt this year at getting an HDB flat. He has been trying since he got married almost two years ago, and holds out little hope.

‘The demand is so high now, and families like mine are priced out of the resale market. It’s been difficult to get our own home,’ said Mr Mohammed, who rents a room of an HDB flat with his wife. HDB’s latest sale also follows a recent announcement that it will offer more than 7,000 new flats for sale over the next seven months, as well as seven plots of land which could boast another 3,200 units.

Some couples, such as Mr Mohammed and his wife, in desperate need of homes, said these homes – not ready for three to five years – do not address the current shortage.

The HDB has said it would progressively offer its unsold stock, located across various estates, in upcoming sales exercises.

 

Source: The Straits Times 11 Dec 07

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