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More new flats in older estates

ON THE CARDS: New blocks of flats will be launched in Tampines North (above), a mature estate. Some 1,500 units will be offered under the Build-To-Order scheme. Other flats will come up in Kallang and Toa Payoh. ARTIST'S IMPRESSION: HDB


    May 14, 2014

    More new flats in older estates

    NEW flats are being launched in mature estates under the Build-To-Order scheme, in a move that could be a game changer for younger families.

    Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao has reported that new flats will be launched in estates such as Kallang, Tampines North and Toa Payoh in the second half of the year.

    In Tampines North alone, 1,500 units will be offered under the scheme. These would include 50 units of three-generation flats for extended families.

    The Housing Board said that although land is scarce in such estates, the Government has noted the popularity of housing in the older neighbourhoods and will continue to build more flats there, reported Zaobao.

    Property experts agreed that flats in mature estates are hugely popular with buyers.

    "The younger buyers prefer to buy a flat in mature estates so that they can live near their parents, who can look after their children when they are at work," Michael Khoo, associate director of Dennis Wee Realty, told My Paper.

    He said there were four times as many applications for new flats in mature estates than in non-mature estates.

    One reason for this is the ease of commuting.

    "Mature estates are located nearer to the city or within close proximity to the more popular MRT lines, such as the red and green lines, making it easier for residents to travel to work," said SLP International research head Nicholas Mak.

    Older estates also tend to have better amenities overall, compared to newer ones. "Mature estates are more well developed with wet markets, clinics and more shops near the town centre," said Mr Mak.

    At the same time, not surprisingly, they command steeper prices than their younger counterparts. A four-room flat in Sengkang costs around $280,000 on average, compared to a four-room flat in Toa Payoh, which is almost double the price at $500,000, said Mr Khoo.

    Hence, there will still be a substantial number of buyers who prefer to buy cheaper property in non-mature estates, said HSR Property Group's head of marketing and training, Donald Yeo.

    Said Mr Mak: "These launches may not influence the (overall) prices greatly, though, as it is market sentiment and government policies such as cooling measures that affect prices more."

    Piano teacher Wendy Wang, 26, who is getting married soon and looking to buy a flat, prefers to live in a mature estate.

    "I have always lived in a mature estate and am used to the abundance of amenities and transportation options nearby. Newer estates such as Punggol are far from town and are usually linked to the MRT via the LRT, which I am not used to."