HDB launches flats for sale in Pung­gol and Tampines

The Straits Times - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Au-Yong Hous­ing Cor­re­spon­dent and Clement Yong [email protected] [email protected]

The Hous­ing Board (HDB) launched 4,089 flats for sale yes­ter­day, a day af­ter higher grants and higher in­come ceil­ings for flat buy­ers were an­nounced.

A to­tal of 3,373 Build-To-Or­der (BTO) flats in Pung­gol and Tampines are up for sale, and they in­clude flats rang­ing from two-room flexi to five-room units.

Prices start from $109,000 ex­clud­ing grants for a two-room flexi flat in Pung­gol, and from $312,000 for a four-room flat in Tampines.

The sales ex­er­cise had been pushed from last month to this month to al­low more home buy­ers to ben­e­fit from the lat­est changes, which in­clude rais­ing the in­come ceil­ing for Sin­ga­pore­ans to buy HDB flats by $2,000 to $14,000.

An­other ma­jor change is the new En­hanced Cen­tral Prov­i­dent Fund Hous­ing Grant (EHG) of up to $80,000. It re­places two pre­vi­ous grants, but al­lows more peo­ple to ben­e­fit as it has a higher in­come cap and does not im­pose any re­stric­tions on the flat size or lo­ca­tion.

With the EHG – given to first­timer fam­i­lies earn­ing $9,000 and less – buy­ers can pur­chase a tworoom flexi flat in Pung­gol for as lit­tle as $29,000 af­ter hous­ing grants.

Hut­tons Asia re­search di­rec­tor Lee Sze Teck ex­pects the two sites in Pung­gol – Pung­gol Point Crown and Pung­gol Point Cove – to be more pop­u­lar, as they are near the fu­ture Pung­gol Coast MRT sta­tion and near the coast, “where they can get an un­blocked view of the sea”.

But he added that he did not think there would be a sig­nif­i­cant spike in ap­pli­cants just be­cause of the new an­nounce­ments. “Buy­ers need time to digest the in­for­ma­tion and de­cide whether to buy. Some buy­ers might hold out for the up­com­ing launches.”

PropNex chief ex­ec­u­tive Is­mail Gafoor said the “strate­gi­cally lo­cated” Tampines GreenGlen is likely to see more than eight ap­pli­cants for each of its 649 units.

Also, bigger units may be more pop­u­lar, given the higher grants. Mr Is­mail pre­dicted dou­ble-digit sub­scrip­tion rates for the 722 five-room flats in both Pung­gol and Tampines.

Also up for sale are 716 Re-Of­fer of Bal­ance Flats across var­i­ous towns in ma­ture and non-ma­ture es­tates.

These are un­sold flats from the sales ex­er­cise last Novem­ber. About 12 per cent of these homes are al­ready com­pleted, while the rest are be­ing built.

The ap­pli­ca­tion process ends next Tues­day.

In Novem­ber, the HDB will of­fer 4,500 BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio, Tampines and Ten­gah. In to­tal, the au­thor­i­ties are on track to launch 15,000 flats this year.

An­other 3,000 BTO flats in Sem­bawang and Toa Payoh will be re­leased next Fe­bru­ary. The sup­ply of BTO flats next year is likely to go up, to meet an­tic­i­pated de­mand from the pol­icy changes.

While the re­sale mar­ket for age­ing flats is set to see a boost from changes to hous­ing grant schemes that kicked in yes­ter­day, the prices of such flats may not nec­es­sar­ily rise in tan­dem with in­creased de­mand, prop­erty ob­servers said.

This is be­cause the Govern­ment is likely to in­crease the sup­ply of new flats to match the higher over­all de­mand and keep hous­ing prices un­der con­trol, they added.

The an­a­lysts were re­spond­ing to changes an­nounced on Tues­day, which in­cluded the En­hanced CPF Hous­ing Grant (EHG).

The EHG – given to first-timer fam­i­lies earn­ing $9,000 or less – re­places two pre­vi­ous grants.

It al­lows more peo­ple to ben­e­fit, as it has a higher in­come cap and does not im­pose any re­stric­tions on flat size or lo­ca­tion.

PropNex chief ex­ec­u­tive Is­mail Gafoor said the EHG will in­crease buyer in­ter­est in re­sale flats and could help own­ers who have found it dif­fi­cult to sell their older flats.

He noted that while re­sale flats are about 20 per cent pricier than com­pa­ra­ble new flats, the ad­di­tional grant money (up to $40,000), cou­pled with other ad­van­tages such as saving on ren­o­va­tion and a shorter wait­ing time, could nar­row the price gap for first-time buy­ers.

But he does not ex­pect prices to rise sig­nif­i­cantly just be­cause there are more buy­ers.

To keep pub­lic hous­ing af­ford­able, the Govern­ment will most likely mon­i­tor the mar­ket and ramp up the sup­ply of new flats if needed, he said. Prices may in­crease slightly with in­fla­tion but should re­main sta­ble over­all, he added.

ERA Realty’s head of re­search and con­sul­tancy Nicholas Mak said the changes may not mean that buy­ers will now rush for re­sale flats in ma­ture es­tates, as many consider mul­ti­ple fac­tors in buy­ing homes.

Some who have spe­cific wants, such as liv­ing near their par­ents, may be pre­pared to pay a higher price or re­ceive less in grants to get their de­sired flat through the re­sale mar­ket, he noted. Buy­ers who get a re­sale flat with a lease that does not cover them till age 95 will see their grants pro-rated.

But for most, the spe­cific flat’s prox­im­ity to ameni­ties like MRT sta­tions and schools, or to un­de­sir­able el­e­ments like colum­bar­i­ums and ex­press­ways, is more sig­nif­i­cant than the type of es­tate, Mr Mak said.

And younger buy­ers gen­er­ally tend to pre­fer newer flats that are eas­ier to sell off a few years down the road, he added.

The hous­ing pol­icy changes in­clude rais­ing the in­come ceil­ing for ex­ec­u­tive con­do­mini­ums (ECs) from $14,000 to $16,000.

In the short term, this will likely widen the gap be­tween the high de­mand and low sup­ply of ECs as the land sup­ply for such projects is scarce, Mr Mak said. “The sup­ply in the short term is quite in­flex­i­ble,” he added, not­ing that the rules re­quire devel­op­ers to wait at least 15 months be­fore they can launch EC projects af­ter ac­quir­ing land parcels.

So even if the Govern­ment were to sell more land parcels next year, new ECs would be launched in 2021 to 2022 at the ear­li­est, he said.

Mr Mak noted that there are cur­rently three EC projects set to be launched next year.

There were no would-be buy­ers yes­ter­day af­ter­noon when The Straits Times vis­ited the show­room for Pier­mont Grand in Pung­gol – the only EC launched this year.

“It’s still early days. I’m hope­ful for the week­end when more peo­ple have heard about the news and are not work­ing,” said OrangeTee & Tie prop­erty agent An­drew Yew.

“The EHG has been a long time com­ing and re­ally helps young cou­ples who might have been con­sid­er­ing ECs pre­vi­ously but whose in­come ex­ceeded the ceil­ing.”

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