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    May 04, 2015

    New HDB flats not as pricey as some think

    NEW Housing Board flat prices are overestimated by the public, and the majority of prospective flat buyers are willing to pay more than the current average prices.

    A new survey of more than 1,400 residents by the National Development Ministry showed that one in five of them intended to buy a flat in the next five years.

    The issue of pricey new flats has been a rising concern in recent years, with National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan promising to fix the issue when he first took charge of the ministry.

    Measures such as delinking prices of new flats from those of the resale market have brought prices down.

    But perceptions that new flats are expensive continue to linger, according to the survey conducted in November.

    Last year, the average price of a four-roomer in a non-mature estate was $295,000.

    A third of respondents did not know how much such flats cost, while another four in 10 overestimated the price.

    The most common estimate, chosen by 28 per cent, was between $300,001 and $400,000.

    That price range is higher than the average and includes many of the priciest units. Last year, more than eight in 10 new four-roomers were sold for under $350,000.

    Another 11 per cent thought such flats cost between $400,001 and $500,000, while 5 per cent thought they cost even more.

    Of the other respondents, 19 per cent estimated a price of $200,001 to $300,000, and just 3 per cent thought they cost less.

    The survey was conducted via telephone with 1,477 randomly selected Singapore residents aged 20 and above. The results were weighted to be representative.

    It also found that those who intend to buy a flat in the next one to two years were largely willing to pay as much as, or more than actual Build-to-Order (BTO) prices in non-mature estates.

    For three-roomers, 45 per cent said they would pay $200,001 to $300,000. Another 13 per cent were willing to pay more.

    The actual average price of such flats was $186,000 before government grants.

    For four-roomers, 26 per cent were willing to pay $300,001 to $400,000, while another 35 per cent would pay more.

    The actual average price was $295,000 before grants.

    More than half of prospective buyers were also willing to pay over the average five-roomer price of $391,000.

    However, prices which exceed these averages can be daunting to buyers. Information technology consultant Roy Jan, 35, had hoped to get a four-roomer for $280,000.

    "I just feel that prices should be around that range, based on what I've heard," he said.

    The four-roomer he bought in Bukit Batok cost $330,000 instead. "It's a little bit expensive."

    Prices are also higher in mature estates, though buyers are prepared to pay more for these sought-after units.

    "We wanted somewhere convenient in a mature estate," said Jasmine Guo, 26, whose three-roomer in Ang Mo Kio cost $251,000.

    "My husband and I opted to pay equal shares of our loan - cost-sharing makes it more affordable," the administrative executive added.