HDB to offer 9,000 flats in mature estates
HALF of the new Housing Board flats launched this year will be in mature estates, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.
This means about 9,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats will be offered in mature estates such as Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Bukit Merah this year.
"We are trying to do more for mature estates because we know that there's demand. So this year we are going to have about half of the flats set aside for mature estates and half for non-mature," said Mr Wong.
"That's already a higher proportion than it used to be," he noted.
Flats in mature estates accounted for about one-third of the 15,100 BTO units launched last year.
But Mr Wong added that this increase in mature estate offerings will not be a sustained one as there are space constraints in these developed towns.
"We will try our best to have a healthy pipeline of new flats in mature estates. But I would like to say that no matter how many new flats we build in mature estates, it will not be enough to meet the demand."
"These flats are very popular and there is not much space in the mature estates to build new flats. So there will always be more demand than there is supply."
"In the longer term, the majority of flats will still have to be in the non-mature estates," said Mr Wong, who was visiting the new sales atrium and My Nice Home Gallery at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.
He added that buyers with more pressing needs should consider getting resale flats or new flats in non-mature estates instead, as their chances of securing a home would be higher.
"If you're a first-timer, many of them can get (a flat in a non-mature estate) on their first try. But all of them, every first-timer applying for a flat in a non-mature estate can get it certainly on the second or third try."
The HDB launched 4,170 BTO flats yesterday.
There are 1,594 flats in Bidadari, 1,655 in Bukit Batok and 921 in Sengkang.
Applicants have until March 1 to apply.
In May, another 4,070 BTO flats will be launched in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Merah, Bukit Panjang and Sembawang.
Another 5,000 balance flats, or flats not sold in previous exercises, will also be offered.
Property firm PropNex noted that the launch features a wide range of flats, which will better cater to the diverse needs of buyers.
"We foresee flats in Bidadari to be more popular; the higher prices might not deter buyers due to its central location - especially the larger four- and five-room flats," said a PropNex spokesman.
"Such larger flats are likely to see application rates of about five times. But the overall application rate for the Bidadari BTO project will be about four times."
"As for Sengkang and Bukit Batok, we predict the application rate to be about two to three times," the spokesman added.
Additional reporting by Lee Min Kok