Toa Payoh 4-room flats top draw at BTO launch

SINGAPORE - Four-room units in Toa Payoh may be the priciest on offer in the latest sale of new Housing Board (HDB) flats yesterday, but they proved to be the most popular.

By 5pm yesterday, the 419 units available in the new Toa Payoh Apex estate were over-subscribed by 1.3 times, with 551 applications received.

With prices starting from $413,000, they were the most expensive of the 3,841 flats rolled out in yesterday's Built-to-order (BTO) launch.

Included in the launch were 104 studio apartments in Woodlands Kampung Admiralty, which property analysts say will attract a fair share on interest.

Described by HDB as a "modern vertical village", the development, where prices start from $91,000, is aimed at the elderly, bringing together medical, childcare and eldercare centres, shops and homes under one roof.

The apartments there already attracted 0.6 applications for each unit by 5pm yesterday. The launch concludes on Friday.

"If the buyer likes to live in the north, the location of the studio apartment project is very good. It is right right next to the Admiralty MRT station, wet market and shops," said SLP International Property Consultants head of research Nicholas Mak said.

Madam Hindon Abushah, a 60-year-old part-time cleaner, is eyeing a place there.

"Having the MRT nearby means I can travel easily to meet my friends and family members. I don't need a big place too as I live alone, now that my husband has passed away."

Being near Braddell MRT and Toa Payoh MRT stations was one of Toa Payoh Apex's draws, along with its proximity to the city, the maturity of its estate, with its wide range of facilities, and the fact that new flats have not been launched in the district in recent years.

"HDB upgraders would be attracted as they may be looking for a place with more amenities," said ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim.

Toa Payoh's location around the heart of Singapore is the topmost reason that 56-year-old private tutor James Tan is hoping to secure a four-room flat in the neighbourhood, where 138 three-room units are also on offer.

"The price is quite high. But I think it is expected because of the convenient location," he said.

Four-room flats in Punggol, Sembawang and Yishun were also part of yesterday's launch. Prices start from $236,000 to $278,000.

But they were not as popular as the ones in Toa Payoh, with Punggol and Yishun having the next highest application rate of 0.3 when it came to their four-roomers.

Also attracting plenty of interest were the 120 two-room flats in Yishun, which had 1.3 applicants vying for each unit. Analysts said data from previous launches showed that BTO two-roomers were popular among singles.

Mr Ong Kah Seng, R'ST Research director, said he expects the two-room units in Punggol to do well. "The waterway concept in Punggol will be very interesting for singles," he said.

The flats launched yesterday also included five-room and the larger Three-Generation, or 3Gen, flats meant for multi-generational families.

Buyers said there was a good range of flats to fit varying needs, but some were not available at their preferred locations. Said operations manager Patsy Lai, 43: "We were hoping that 3G flats would be launched in Punggol but that was not the case. We live there with our children. It would be nice to have a bigger flat so my parents can move in."

This article was first published on July 20, 2014.
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