BTO launch: Pre-fab method to be used for most flats

The Straits Times - - TOPOF THE NEWS - Ng Jun Sen

For the first time, the ma­jor­ity of Build-To-Or­der (BTO) flats launched will be built us­ing a new pre-fab­ri­cated method that re­duces the num­ber of work­ers needed at con­struc­tion sites, said the Hous­ing Board yes­ter­day.

Of the 4,829 BTO flats launched across five projects in the lat­est HDB sales ex­er­cise, 3,880 flats, or 80 per cent, will be built us­ing the pre-fab­ri­cated pre-fin­ished vol­u­met­ric con­struc­tion (PPVC) method.

The three PPVC projects in this ex­er­cise are the 1,300-unit Fern­vale Glades in Sengkang, the 388-unit Northshore Edge in Pung­gol and the 2,192-unit Tampines GreenCourt.

Un­der this new con­struc­tion tech­nol­ogy, the lower num­ber of work­ers needed at con­struc­tion sites means safety haz­ards and in­con­ve­nience to the pub­lic will be min­imised.

This method al­lows build­ings to be con­structed in a Lego-like man­ner, with build­ing mod­ules be­ing fab­ri­cated in off­site fac­to­ries. It is a ma­jor part of the Gov­ern­ment’s push to­wards rais­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity in the con­struc­tion sec­tor, as laid out in the in­dus­try’s trans­for­ma­tion map launched last month.

On HDB’s end, 35 per cent of all BTO flats of­fered should use the tech­nol­ogy by 2019. This year alone, 22 per cent of BTO flats launched will use PPVC.

HDB’s pi­lot PPVC project – Val­ley Spring @ Yishun – was launched in the Au­gust 2016 sales ex­er­cise.

PPVC flats will come with floor and wall fin­ishes, in­ter­nal doors, win­dow frames, san­i­tary fit­tings and a base coat of paint. The HDB will not be of­fer­ing the Op­tional Com­po­nent Scheme (OCS) – which al­lows BTO-flat buy­ers to pick these fur­nish­ings as an op­tion – with PPVC flats. Re­sale trans­ac­tions went into overdrive last month, with num­bers rock­et­ing past the level recorded in Septem­ber.

The ac­tiv­ity is a stark sign that life is roar­ing back into the mar­ket, although things are still far from the glory days of 2010 and 2014.

There were 1,461 non-landed pri­vate res­i­den­tial units resold in Oc­to­ber, up 18.7 per cent on the 1,231 shifted in the pre­vi­ous month, ac­cord­ing to SRX Prop­erty es­ti­mates. The year-on-year re­sult is even more

Said HDB: “This will al­low flat buy­ers to move into their flats more quickly as less ren­o­va­tion work is re­quired. Flat buy­ers who pre­fer to choose their own fin­ishes/fit­tings can opt for non-PPVC flats, where OCS will con­tinue to be of­fered.”

Some prospec­tive buy­ers said it was still too early to tell if there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween homes built us­ing PPVC and those us­ing tra­di­tional on-site meth­ods.

Said Ms Jessy Chia, 25, a re­tail man­ager: “It’s great news for buy­ers only if (the use of PPVC) means flats are built cheaper or faster, and these sav­ings come back to us.”

The BTO flats on of­fer are in the ma­ture towns of Gey­lang and Tampines, and the non-ma­ture towns of Pung­gol and Sengkang. They in­clude short-lease, tworoom Flexi flats for el­derly home buy­ers and three-gen­er­a­tion units for multi-gen­er­a­tional fam­i­lies to live to­gether un­der one roof.

An­other 3,401 units un­der the im­pres­sive, with Oc­to­ber’s vol­ume up 122 per cent from the 658 units resold in the same month last year, although it was 28.7 per cent be­low the peak of 2,050 units in April 2010.

SRX Prop­erty said pri­vate non­landed re­sales for the first 10 months of the year are 46 per cent higher than for the whole of 2016. It pre­dicts the vol­ume for this whole year will be around 12,600 units – up 65 per cent from last year’s 7,633 units.

Mr Wong Xian Yang, OrangeTee’s head of re­search and con­sul- Sale of Bal­ance Flats (SBF) are also on of­fer, bring­ing the to­tal in this ex­er­cise, last­ing from yes­ter­day un­til next Mon­day, to 8,230 flats.

This brings the to­tal num­ber of BTO flats launched this year to 17,584 units, and the num­ber of all flats, in­clud­ing those in the SBF and Re-Of­fer of Bal­ance Flats ex­er­cises, to 26,325.

Ap­pli­ca­tion for new flats launched in the November 2017 BTO and SBF ex­er­cise can be sub­mit­ted on­line on the HDB In­foWEB from now un­til next Mon­day. Ap­pli­cants can ap­ply for only one flat type/cat­e­gory in one town, un­der ei­ther the BTO or SBF ex­er­cise.

The next BTO ex­er­cise will be in Fe­bru­ary next year, when the HDB will of­fer about 3,600 flats in Choa Chu Kang, Gey­lang, Tampines and Wood­lands. A con­cur­rent Re-of­fer of Bal­ance Flats ex­er­cise will also be held. tancy, ex­pects re­sale vol­umes of pri­vate homes to con­tinue grow­ing on the back of in­creased de­mand.

He sug­gests that the record re­sale prices for city-fringe non-landed pri­vate homes could have been fu­elled by the surge in land prices for both col­lec­tive-sale sites as well as Gov­ern­ment Land Sale sites.

“Those sell­ing pri­vate apart­ments and con­dos units in the rest of cen­tral re­gion (RCR) in the re­sale mar­ket are hold­ing firm or rais­ing their ask­ing prices, as higher land prices tend to au­gur well for fu­ture prop­erty prices,” he said.

Re­sale prices for condo units and pri­vate apart­ments in the city fringe or RCR reached a new high last month, go­ing by SRX Prop­erty flash es­ti­mates. On a month-on-month ba­sis, its re­sale price in­dex for non­landed pri­vate homes posted a 1.5 per cent gain last month. The price in­dex for the sub­urbs, or out­side cen­tral re­gion (OCR), climbed at an even faster pace of 1.7 per cent.

In the prime core cen­tral re­gion (CCR), prices inched up 0.3 per cent. As a re­sult, SRX Prop­erty’s over­all re­sale price in­dex for pri­vate apart­ments and condo units rose 1.3 per cent last month over Septem­ber. This fol­lowed a 0.1 per cent month-on-month rise in the over­all in­dex in Septem­ber.

On a year-on-year ba­sis, the RCR price in­dex out­shone the other two re­gions with a 7.5 per cent gain. This was fol­lowed by a 6.4 per cent in­crease for the CCR and a 5.5 per cent in­crease for the OCR.

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