SINGAPORE: Housing applicants rushed to the four-bedroom (BTO) one-bedroom apartments in Telok Blangah, contributing to one of the highest application rates in recent years.
This even comes as these flats are the most expensive units in the Housing Board’s sales exercise this month.
Located on the mature Bukit Merah estate, there were only 70 such apartments in the Telok Blangah Beacon project, but they attracted 3,124 applicants at 5pm on Monday (May 31).
This means that only one in 28 candidates will get a unit for the first time.
Candidates for the second time face even more bleak prospects, with more than 412 candidates competing for each available unit.
Prices for these four-bedroom Telok Blangah flats, located within walking distance of Telok Blangah MRT station, range from $ 602,000 to $ 710,000.
The last time a BTO project attracted such strong competition was in August last year, when 334 four-bedroom apartments in Geylang attracted nearly 15 applicants per unit.
The 105 three-bedroom apartments at Telok Blangah Beacon were also oversubscribed, although the competition was less fierce, with just under three first-time candidates competing for each unit.
Prices for these three-bedroom apartments range from $ 419,000 to $ 504,000.
Buyers will also have to wait more than five years to get these flats, the longest wait for this release, as the project is estimated to be completed in the first quarter of 2027.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the waiting time for a standard BTO floor was approximately three to four years.
Lee Sze Teck, research director at Huttons Asia, said the project’s central location on a mature estate is the main attraction.
It is also the closest BTO project that has been announced so far to the future Great South Waterfront, he added.
“Even paying $ 710,000 and a wait of more than five years does not deter buyers who want the location and the potential advantage of the transformation in the coming years,” he said.
The last time new flats were launched in Bukit Merah was eight years ago.
The other BTO project on a mature farm in this month’s sales exercise, which will end at 11:59 p.m. Monday, was also popular, although demand was less competitive.
The 1,010 four-bedroom MacPherson Weave apartments in Geylang attracted four first-time applicants for each unit. The 156 three-bedroom apartments attracted fewer than two applicants for each.
On the immature Woodlands estate, the 359 five-bedroom flats in Woodgrove Ascent were the most requested, approximately four first-time applicants for each unit.
Its 411 four-room, 84-room units also attracted more than three first-time applicants for each available unit.
Prices start at $ 185,000 for a three-bedroom apartment, $ 275,000 for a four-bedroom apartment and $ 372,000 for a five-bedroom unit, making them the most affordable in this sales year.
Similarly, Garden Bloom @ Tengah’s 251 five-bedroom units had more than three first-time applicants each, while the 265 four-bedroom units had three first-time applicants competing for each.
In both Woodlands and Tengah, buyers will have to wait just under four years to get the flats. Both projects are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2025.
PropNex chief executive Ismail Gafoor said the overall rate of 4.3 applicants for each unit available at this launch decreased marginally from the 4.6 seen in the sales year of February BTO.
“A potential reason for the moderate light may be the increase in uncertainty about completion dates and a longer wait time as a result of construction delays,” he said.
However, Christine Sun, senior vice president of research and analysis at OrangeTee & Tie, noted that the overall percentage of applications is considered healthy despite government warnings of construction delays due to Covid-19.
“Rising prices for HDB resale flats and private property can be a major factor. For many people, BTO flats are still considered more affordable and worth the wait,” he said.
In August, HDB will launch some 4,900 apartments in Queenstown, Kallang / Whampoa, Tampines, Jurong East and Hougang.
Other homes from 3,100 to 3,600 units will be offered in November in Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong West, Kallang / Whampoa and Tengah, and the exact locations will be posted in August.