November 27, 2008 Thursday

Punggol BTO flats in hot demand

By Michelle Tay

IN THESE leaner economic times, the cheapest public housing option for newly-wed couples has been three times subscribed.

The Housing Board's latest Build-To-Order (BTO) flats, Punggol Arcadia, closed yesterday with 2,344 applications for just 750 units. The final update will be made today at 2pm.

The overwhelming response 'demonstrates that there is still a high demand for public housing', said the chief executive of property consultancy PropNex, Mr Mohamed Ismail.

HDB launched Punggol Arcadia, at the junction of Punggol Place and Punggol Field, two weeks ago.

Buyers could choose from 120 three-room, 465 four-room, and 165 five-room flats. The flats cost between $181,000 and $211,000 for a three-room unit, between $268,000 and $327,000 for a four-room unit, and between $356,000 and $416,000 for a five-room unit.

The prices represent an increase of 7 to 8 per cent from those at neighbouring Punggol Sapphire, another BTO project HDB launched six months ago.

PropNex noted that the median price for the flats was 'only a few thousand dollars below that of Punggol resale flats'.

This means buyers still want new flats, otherwise they could easily opt for a resale flat where they would not have to wait to move in, and can enjoy grants of up to $70,000.

According to HDB data, only 262 applications were received on the first day of application. Yet, yesterday's results mean less than 40 per cent of applicants will get a flat.

'Given these results, we can expect to see the HDB resale market continue to do well for the whole year with overall 14 per cent growth,' said Mr Ismail.

He added that demand for three- and four-room flats will not wane in the slowing economy, but 'there may be more cautious sentiments where five-room flats are concerned'.