A total of 3,953 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats were launched for sale by the Housing Board on 17 Feb this Thursday, including 398 units in Kallang/Whampoa - the second project under the prime location public housing (PLH) HDB BTO model.
In central matured estate of Geylang, HDB also launched BTO project Dakota Crest in Geylang, with 443 two-room flexi, three-room and four-room flats on offer across three blocks located along Geylang River and the Geylang Park Connector, and is served by both Mountbatten MRT station and Dakota MRT station. Prices start from $352,000 for a three-room flat and $522,000 for a four-room flat estimated to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2027.
These four-room PLH BTO flats in Rochor were the most popular in the latest BTO launch, and were 10.3 times oversubscribed with a total of 6,976 applications were received for 680 four-room BTO flats in Rochor. Three-room flats in the area drew far less demand, with 867 applications for 280 units.
Since 2015, there has not been a single five-room BTO flat launched outside of the Bidadari estate, which is part of Toa Payoh town. This comes even as HDB launched 9,273 four-room BTO flats in centrally located mature estates from 2015.
Due to the limited number of five-room HDB flats put out by the Housing Board (HDB) in the central region of Singapore, there are 14 times fewer five-room flats compared with four-room flats in the central region. In the towns of Bishan, Geylang, Kallang/Whampoa and other parts of Toa Payoh, four-room flats are the biggest flat type available in recent BTO projects.
According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) masterplan, the central region comprises the towns of Bishan, Toa Payoh, Bukit Merah, Bukit Timah, Geylang, Marine Parade, Kallang, Novena, Tanglin and Queenstown.
HDB feel that 4 room BTO flats in central areas were not the most in-demand BTO units this year, with flats in Bukit Merah and Hougang in earlier launches being far more popular. Four-room flats in Bukit Merah, launched in May, were 49.6 times oversubscribed, while similar sized flats in Hougang, launched in August, were 24.9 times oversubscribed.
According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) masterplan, the central region comprises the towns of Bishan, Toa Payoh, Bukit Merah, Bukit Timah, Geylang, Marine Parade, Kallang, Novena, Tanglin, Queenstown including the Southern Islands and a central area consisting of, among others, the central business district and Orchard.
HDB had also offered around 500 five-room flats in the central region throughout the last five years under the Sale of Balance Flats exercises, Re-Offer of Balance Flats exercises - which has since been scrapped -and open booking of flats.
Whether HDB will launch five-room PLH HDB BTO flats will depend if there is demand for such units in central locations. If there are more five-room BTO flats launched in other non-central mature estates, especially near MRT stations, then demand for larger HDB flats may be drawn away from centrally located PLH areas. The demand for five-room PLH HDB BTOs will also depend if HDB relaxes the policy rules for HDB BTO flats purchased under the PLH model, such as the 6 per cent clawback and 10 year MOP period, etc.
Kiwi Lim from the 3rd largest real estate agency Huttons Asia believe another reason why HDB is not building any five-room HDB BTO flats in the central areas may be the price quantum. The selling price for a five-room HDB BTO in the central area may be priced around $700,000 to $850,000 even under the stricter PLH BTO model. These units will most probably be sold at more than $1 million in the resale market in future creating the sentiment that HDB is overpriced and no longer serving the interests of Singaporeans.