Within hours of yesterday's sales exercise kicking off, there were more applicants for five-room flats in the new Bidadari estate than the units available.
As of 5pm, there were 259 applicants chasing 151 such units, making them the most sought-after so far in the current exercise.
The bumper Housing Board launch, which began yesterday, marks the first time that flats are being offered in Bidadari and under the new two-room flexi scheme.
A total of 12,411 flats are on offer, comprising 7,061 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats and 5,350 balance flats.
The record launch size stems from the planned September and November launches being merged, to allow new policies to kick in.
The 2,139 flats across three Bidadari projects are the only units in a mature town in this BTO exercise. Four-roomers there were also popular, with 399 applicants for 1,229 units so far.
Experts cited the new estate's central location as an attractive factor. "Bidadari is definitely an area where many flat applicants are looking forward to, notwithstanding its 'sad past'," said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng, referring to Bidadari's history as a cemetery.
Said PropNex Realty chief executive officer Mohamed Ismail Gafoor: "As a mature estate, we believe this 'future Bishan of Singapore' is going to be a hot seller."
As for prices in Bidadari, experts said they were "reasonable". They start at $297,000 for three-room flats, $433,000 for four-room flats and $544,000 for five-room flats.
ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim noted that in May's BTO, Clementi five-roomers cost $576,000 to $725,000, yet drew almost 14 applicants for each unit.
Pilot Yu Shu Qing, 33, may get a Bidadari flat with his wife. He said: "It's a good location so it should be quite a hot piece of property."
But others like beauty adviser Nur Sahila Noor Sa-llehudin, 24, are shying away as they find the price steep. "Four-room flats in Bidadari are almost double the price of those in Sengkang," she noted. Sengkang four-roomers start at $252,000.
Also on offer are BTO flats in Choa Chu Kang, Sengkang, Bukit Batok, Hougang and Punggol.
Meanwhile, the concurrent Sale of Balance Flats exercise offers 1,443 flats across 14 mature towns - including a four-roomer at the Pinnacle@Duxton - and 3,907 flats across 11 non-mature towns.
Experts expect strong demand in this launch. "The slew of policies and incentives announced recently will increase flat buyers' interest," said Mr Ong.
"These include a higher income ceiling for new flats and a larger Special Central Provident Fund Housing Grant.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who visited the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh yesterday to speak to home buyers, noted in a Facebook post: "It was just Day 1, but the sales area was already abuzz with many home buyers."
"In fact, there is no need to rush," he added. Applications are open for 10 days instead of the usual seven, until 11.59pm on Nov 26. The public can apply online or in person.
Including balance flats in May and November, a total of 25,837 flats were offered this year.
The next launch is in February, offering about 4,150 BTO flats in Bidadari, Bukit Batok and Sengkang.
This article was first published on November 18, 2015.
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