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HDB offers 278 flats for sale

By end of yesterday, there were 2,224 online applications

THE Housing and Development Board launched the sale of 278 flats in various towns and estates yesterday. And by the end of the day the units were many times subscribed, with 2,224 online applications received.

Most of the units are four-room flats, plus 64 five-room units and 20 executive flats. They are spread over 13 estates.

Toa Payoh had the largest number of flats available at 119, followed by Tampines with 39 and Bukit Merah with 30.

Cushman & Wakefield managing director Donald Han said: ‘Obviously we’re seeing a better response for mature estates in fairly central locations. These are the first to experience demand and price increases.’

This is HDB’s fifth bi-monthly sales exercise for four-room and bigger flats under the combined balloting/walk-in system. Some 3,350 units have been offered so far.

In the first four exercises, 2,917 of the 3,034 units offered were selected, representing a take-up rate of 96 per cent.

There is also healthy demand for HDB’s build-to-order (BTO) flats. The 698-unit Coral Spring @ Sengkang, launched in September 2007, is about 70 per cent taken up, with just 200 units remaining. ERA Singapore assistant vice-president Eugene Lim said this is ‘not bad’ considering the location.

The strong economy has helped boost BTO and bi-monthly sales. But Mr Lim said increasingly higher asking prices for resale HDB flats are pricing some people out of the resale market. ‘There appears to be a stand-off between buyers and sellers in the resale market at the moment,’ he said, though there is still demand for resale flats.

HDB, which has stepped up its building programme since 2007, will offer 4,500 new BTO flats in the first half of 2008.

Whether this will help cool the resale market – where at the top end a 21st-storey executive flat in Queenstown went for a record $890,000 last month – is uncertain.

PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail reckons the resale market will remain strong for now.

‘Supply (of flats) through walk-in selection is drying up and BTO flats will take time to build,’ he said. ‘I also believe the first half of 2008 will see people who sold their private flats en bloc earlier start to receive their collective sale proceeds, and some will downgrade to HDB resale flats.’

As such, Mr Ismail believes the resale market could see more than 30,000 transactions this year.


Source: Business Times 12 Feb 08

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