Muted demand for the three BTO projects in Queenstown estate in Nov launch, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Muted demand for the three BTO projects in Queenstown estate in Nov launch

First-time applicants for the Queenstown build-to-order (BTO) projects in the November launch stand a good chance of being invited to select a flat, while those who opted for the Kallang/Whampoa BTO project face stiff competition.

As at 2pm on Thursday, the first-timer application rate in Queenstown stood at 0.3 for three-room flats and 1.3 for four-room flats, suggesting muted demand for the three BTO projects in the estate.

Historical data from the Housing Board shows that most first-time applicants for BTO projects with an application rate of 1.7 or lower have a good chance to book a flat after accounting for a 40 per cent dropout rate.

Of the three BTO projects in Queenstown, two - Ulu Pandan Banks and Ghim Moh Natura - fall under the prime location public housing (PLH) model, which comes with stricter buying and selling conditions.

The third project, Queenstown Canopy, does not fall under the PLH model as the site - next to Alexandra Hospital - is farther from the main transport nodes and major retail amenities.

At this application stage, applicants can choose only their preferred flat size and their application covers all projects in Queenstown offered in the November launch. They get to choose which one of the three projects they prefer only at the flat selection stage.

The popular development in this November launch is the Kallang Horizon BTO project, which falls under the PLH model in the mature estate of Kallang/Whampoa.

More than six first-timers are vying for each of the four-room flats on offer, while there are three first-timers for each three-room flat.

Eventual owners of flats in the three PLH projects must pay 6 per cent of the resale price or valuation, whichever is higher, to HDB when they sell their homes on the open market for the first time.

The subsidy clawback applies to the first resale transaction and not to subsequent sales because of the higher amount of subsidies given to first-time owners.

Owners will also be bound by a 10-year minimum occupation period (MOP) before they can sell their flats on the open market. Standard BTO flats come with a five-year MOP and do not have a subsidy clawback clause.

Owners are also not allowed to rent out their whole unit, even after the MOP.

Demand was quite evenly spread out across the six BTO projects in the non-mature estates of Bukit Batok, Tengah and Yishun.

Among them, bigger units in Garden Waterfront I and II @ Tengah appear to be the most popular, with more than two first-time applicants vying for each of the available five-room flats.

These units will be the first in Singapore to have a beamless flat design, which allows greater flexibility in configuring layout.

Applicants of these units in the November launch have the shortest waiting time of three years and four months.

The four- and five-room units in three BTO projects in Yishun are the least popular, drawing around one first-time applicant for each available unit. This means that most applicants will likely be able to secure a unit.

As at 2pm, most of the first-time applicants in the November launch, except for the Kallang Horizon BTO project, are likely to be issued a queue number to book a flat, although figures may change by the close of the application period.

This is because HDB issues three times more queue numbers than the flat supply, in anticipation of applicants who will drop out during the flat selection process.

Applications close at 11.59pm on Dec 1 on the HDB flat portal, and flats will be allocated through balloting.

In February 2023, about 4,400 BTO flats in towns such as Jurong West, Tengah, Kallang/Whampoa and Queenstown will be launched.

Following that, in May 2023, HDB will offer between 3,800 and 4,800 flats in towns such as Tengah, Bedok, Kallang/Whampoa, Serangoon and Queenstown.