The second launch of new Housing Board flats this year has met with a generally cool response, continuing last year's trend. The exception: Sengkang's Anchorvale Parkview project, and two-room flats which remain highly sought after by singles.
As of 5pm yesterday, there were 1.3 first-timer applicants for each unit in the Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise, which closed at midnight. This compared to 1.7 in January and 1.3 in November.
But they were much keener on units in Anchorvale Parkview. That project saw 4.5 first-timers vying for each four-room flat, and 3.5 applicants for each five-room or 3Gen (Three Generation) unit.
The site is "particularly attractive" as it is next to Sengkang Riverside Park and commands unblocked views of the reservoir, said OrangeTee head of research Christine Li.
The locations of the other three projects in the March BTO - two in Sembawang and one in Yishun - are "less ideal", with EastCrown @ Canberra facing an industrial park.
Second-timers' application rates for Anchorvale Parkview were also higher than their overall 3.1 rate for this BTO launch, with 11 for each four-roomer and 15 for each five-roomer or 3Gen flat. R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng expects some of the strong demand to be for the 70 3Gen flats in the project, meant for multi-generation families.
ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim suggested that more such flats could be set aside for second-time applicants, who are more likely to have children and live with their parents.
The strongest demand came from singles. They continue to flock towards new two-room flats, which they were first able to purchase in last July's BTO. There were almost 32 singles chasing each two-roomer available to them in Yishun, and more than 10 per unit in the Sembawang projects.
With an average of 18.7 singles applying per unit, this is a step down from the January and November BTO rates of more than 29 and more than 27 respectively.
But there is still room to lower their application rate, said SLP International Property Consultants head of research Nicholas Mak. The HDB could supply more two-room flats or set aside more than the current 30 per cent for singles.
This article was published on April 2 in The Straits Times.
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