A BATCH of 278 surplus Housing Board flats in established towns like Bedok, Geylang and Toa Payoh drew more than 2,200 buyers within hours of going on sale yesterday.
Buyers have until Feb 18 to submit online applications for a computer ballot that will fix their position in the queue to pick a flat. The results will be out on Feb 21.
Yesterday’s ‘apply to buy’ rush will not have come as a surprise given the past response to the HDB’s year-old sales scheme.
A batch of 316 flats offered in outlying towns drew 5,147 applications in December, while about 840 others offered in two prior sales exercises were fully taken up.
The latest batch comprises mainly four-room units, with some five-room and executive flats – all in mature locations with amenities.
‘There will an overwhelming response,’ predicted Mr Albert Lu, the managing director of C&H Realty.
By 5pm yesterday, 2,224 people were in the queue.
The biggest group of units is in Toa Payoh, with 105 four-room and 14 five-room flats on offer. Flats are also available in Jalan Membina in Bukit Merah town and Geylang Serai.
The four-room flats cost $141,000 to $398,000, the five-roomers cost $218,000 to $532,000 and the executive flats, $333,000 to $470,000, depending on location and features of the units.
Demand is expected to come from buyers who want flats urgently but cannot stomach the prices that owners in choice areas are demanding.
Administration assistant Ellis Ang, 26, who plans to get married this year, has struck out in three ballots for a new flat so far.
‘There are a lot of couples like us out there,’ she said.
Unlike build-to-order flats, where construction starts only after most of the units are booked, most of the 278 flats on offer are ready and the rest are expected to be completed by 2011.
The HDB said: ‘Given the overwhelming popularity of new flats in established towns and the limited number of new flats available here, HDB would like to encourage flat buyers to consider flats in non-mature estates as well.’
Increased demand has shrunk the HDB’s surplus stock from more than 10,000 four years ago to about 2,200 at the end of last year.
But it is ramping up the number of build-to-order flats, with about 4,500 new flats offered this way in the first half of this year.
There is ‘ample supply’ of such new flats, it said, pointing out that 200 flats in the 698-unit Coral Spring estate in Sengkang were not taken up when booking ended last month.
Source: The Straits Times 12 Feb 08