October 14, 2008 Tuesday

Robust demand for recent HDB launches

Two offerings of wide range of flats attract more than 10 applicants per unit

By Elizabeth Wilmot

DEMAND has been red hot for two recent launches from the Housing Board, with over 10 times more applicants than flats available.

An offering of 150 smaller flats - studios to three-roomers - was swamped with 2,426 applications in the space of just a week.

And, last Friday, the half-yearly sale of three-room premium, four-room and bigger flats achieved an extraordinary response: 7,036 applications have been submitted for 683 units, yet the offer runs until Thursday.

The launch of the smaller units featured three-roomers, two-roomers and studios in estates across the island, including Bukit Merah, Geylang, Jurong East, Sengkang, Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade.

There were 582 applications for studios and 1,844 for two- and three-roomers combined in the offer from Oct 2 to 8.

Studio prices range from $62,900 to $116,400. A two-roomer goes for $74,000 to $106,300, while a three-room flat will set you back $134,500 to $275,200.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail was not surprised at the robust demand. He said: 'HDB prices, although subsidised, have gone up. Lower-income households are left with not much choice but to turn to three-room flats as a starting platform.'

Three-roomers also provide the highest rental yields in the long term, he added, making them profitable for buyers.

Such flats are offered to lower-income households. Studio applicants must be 55 or older and their gross monthly household income must not exceed $8,000.

The gross monthly household income for applicants for three-room flats must not exceed $3,000. The limit for those hunting for a new two-roomer is $2,000 .

This month's launch shows some changes from the previous small-flat offering held in July. Then, 103 two-room flats and 97 three-roomers were offered, attracting 1,809 applications.

Two-roomers were priced from $72,800 to $99,800 while three-room flats went for $99,000 to $211,000, far lower than this month's offering.

Demand is also robust for HDB flats at the other end of the price spectrum.

A total of 9,083 applications came in for 992 homes offered in a balloting exercise held between Sept 26 and Oct 9.

Four-roomers at the Pinnacle@Duxton, for example, are priced from $457,000 to $555,000 and attracted 2,291 applicants; 825 people applied to buy five-room units at the same development priced from $545,000 to $646,000.

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