Published October 5, 2006

HDB's Design Build & Sell flats awaited

616 units at The Premiere to be sold by ballot due to strong demand


UP to 5,000 property buyers in the mass market are eagerly awaiting the launch of the Housing and Deve lopment Board's (HDB) first privately developed public flats under its Design Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS).

Drawing the crowds: Developer Sim Lian has already received 5,000 enquiries, ahead of The Premiere launch on Saturday. Its MD, Kuik Sing Bing, says the average selling price is around $300 psf

Called The Premiere, Tampines, the 616-unit development is being deve loped by Sim Lian Group, and its managing director Kuik Sing Bing said that it has received 5,000 enquiries so far. 'We even have people knocking on the door of the showflat,' he added.

Response has been so positive that Sim Lian has decided to sell the flats by ballot instead of a walk-in process because it wants to avoid overnight queueing, he said. Its showflat is nevertheless large - almost twice the size of a badminton court - in anticipation of crowds.

The showflat will only start to get crowded on Saturday when The Premiere is actually launched for sale, although potential buyers can also submit their applications online at

Mr Kuik said that the average selling price is around $300 psf. Most of the units will be four-room ($278,000-$410,000) or five-room ($308,000-$450,000) flats, but there will also be a few two-room flats ($138,000-$160,000).

Whether the 5,000 enquiries will result in the flats being sold out will depend on whether buyers equate higher prices with better value. Currently, a five-room HDB flat in the same area costs between $260,000 and $300,000.

There are perks when buying a DBSS flat though. The biggest one is that there is no resale levy payable for second-time home buyers. CPF housing grants are also available to eligible home buyers.

The higher prices for units at The Premiere are also due to the fittings and finishes provided by the developer such as wardrobes, air-conditioners and kitchen cabinets.

Other features that may draw buyers away from standard HDB flats are the large balconies and the use of bay windows to make the rooms look bigger. (ed: can someone tell me how bay windows would make rooms look bigger?)

For most private deve lopments, balconies and bay windows are usually provided because developers enjoy an incentive in terms of certain development charge waivers.

Mr Kuik said Sim Lian did enjoy the same incentives for The Premiere, but added that the profit margin for this project is nevertheless slim. On average, he said the construction cost for each unit is $128,000.