The November launch of 12,411 new flats has received a “healthy response” amid policy changes such as higher income ceilings and enhanced grants, says the National Development Minister.
SINGAPORE: The bumper launch of 12,411 new flats this month has received a “healthy” response, with more Singaporeans benefiting from recent housing policy changes, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Thursday (Nov 26).
The policy changes include higher income ceilings, an enhanced Special CPF Housing Grant, as well as two-room Flexi flats for seniors.
About 2,100 families and 220 singles in the November exercise benefited from the higher income ceilings of S$12,000 and S$6,000 respectively, Mr Wong said. More lower- and middle-income buyers also benefited from the enhanced grant, with 6,500 families eligible to apply.
The two-room Flexi flats saw an “encouraging” response, with about 1,400 seniors applying for the 966 units offered – a response rate of 2.5, he said.
Despite their higher prices, flats in Bidadari received some of the highest application rates, he said, attributing their popularity to the central location and “Community in the Garden” concept.
The minister also noted that one out of four applicants for the Bidadari flats applied through the Married Child Priority Scheme to live with, or near their parents or married child. “This is an example of how we provide more opportunities for families to live closer together for mutual care and support,” he said.
There was also high demand for larger flats, with the Build-To-Order (BTO) application rate for three-room or larger flats at 3.2.
Mr Wong also said that close to 1,600 flats in Bidadari will be offered in the next HDB BTO sale exercise in February.
Application rates for Bidadari five-room flats are one of the highest this year – over 20 times oversubscribed.
With demand driven mainly by second-time applicants, market watchers said it may be enough to convince authorities to tweak allocation of flats in future batches.
Said Mr Ku Swee Yong, CEO of Century 21: “Five-room units in the whole Bidadari context of, let’s say 150 units divided by 4,000 – the proportion is very small. It is very odd that they allocated so few units of three-room flats for first-timers.
“First-timers applying for a Bidadari three-room flat may find it too expensive, being young and not having enough savings. Based on today’s numbers, the planners should probably launch the second batch with a much higher proportion of five-room flats.”
There were more than 6,000 applications for the 1,229 four-room Bidadari flats available.
Meanwhile, Mr Wong noted that flats in non-mature estates, which made up 70 per cent of the BTO flats launched this month, are “more affordable”. For such flats, the first-timer application rate is 1.6, he said. “Taken together, this means that almost all first-timer applicants will stand a good chance of selecting an affordable flat of their choice.”
He also said that as application rates stabilise, the Ministry of National Development will monitor buyer demand and adjust the BTO supply accordingly.
The deadline for BTO applications will close on Thursday night.