Thursday, September 22, 2011

HDB Launches 8200 flats with wide range of choices

As expected, Singapore Housing Development Board (HDB) has released a very large number of Build-to-Order (BTO) flats in September 2011. 8,200 units exactly![1] Recently, HDB has decided to combine monthly smaller launches into larger launches like this to give more choices to applicants and prevent frustration of multiple failed applications due to imbalance of supply and demand (demand 4-5 times of supply became o norm in the past few years).

And when it comes to choice, this launch looks one of the best. There are studio HDB units as well as 5 room flats. Some are offered in new HDB towns while some are in mature estates. 5,415 of them will be new flats from 7 BTO projects (Anchorvale Harvest, Fernvale Rivergrove, Golden Peony, Teban View, Waterway Brooks, Waterway Woodcress, Yio Chu Kang Vista) in Sengkang, Punggol, Jurong West, Jurong East and Ang Mo Kio . 2,847 of them will be from Sales of Balance Flat (SBF) scattered around 15 estates (6 in mature and 9 in non-mature estates).

In Singapore, there are 2 main groups of housing: public housing where 85% of the population live and private housing. Built-to-Order flats are public housing flats (known as HDB) which are built after a sufficient interest is gathered on the project. This scheme, appearently introduced to reduce a HDB supply glut in early 2000s, could not keep up with the public housing demand of last 5 years. Recently, HDB started to release a bumper supply of flats (50,000 is expected to be released in 2011 and 2012) ahead of orders. They will continue to do so until the supply crunch is eased.

Anchorvale Harvest Singapore BTO
Artist's impression of one of the new projects, Anchorvale Harvest - Bounded by Anchorvale Street and Anchorvale Link, Anchorvale Harvest comprises seven 16-storey residential blocks. Choose from 717 units of 3-, 4- and 5-room Standard flats - Source : Anchorvale Harvest Facebook Page
This primary public housing releases are only open to Singaporeans. 5 years after completion, these 99 years leasehold flats can enter secondary market, which is open to Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents. Foreigners with valid working visas can rent these flats, but they cannot buy them.

5,415 new BTO flats will need to be built first, so their contribution to ease the current housing supply-demand situation is a few years away. But SBF flats will help the government property cooling effort almost immediately since they are flats near completion. Although they are more expensive than BTO flats, analyst expect strong demand for them.

[1] - Wide Range Of Choices In HDB’s Bumper 8,200 Flats Launch 

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