By Sara Grosse | UPDATED: 31 Jul 2013 11:49 PM | CNA

SINGAPORE

The demand for Build-To-Order two-room flats for eligible singles launched on Tuesday is high, with the number of applicants being much more than the number of flats available.

As of 5pm on Wednesday, the application rate is 27.2 for two-room flats in Sengkang and Fernvale Riverwalk.

There are 231 units, of which 30 per cent has been set aside for singles. There were 2233 applicants for 231 units.

As for two-room flats in the non-mature towns of Yishun and Vine Grove @ Yishun, the application rate is 12.0.

30 per cent of the 288 units has been set aside for singles. There are 1250 applicants for 288 units.

Application closes on August 5.

Chris Koh, director at Chris International, said one reason for the high take-up rate for BTO flats could be because not enough flats have been allocated.

The government has also extended other housing grants to eligible singles, making the flats more affordable.

One reason why the Sengkang flats are more popular could be that they are nearer to an MRT station.

Industry players said this high demand does not come as a surprise, as it is the first time BTO flats are available to singles. Like other schemes, there could be ways applicants could take advantage of it.

Christine Li, head of research and consultancy at Orange Tee, said: “Some single friends also point out to me that if a couple is dating and not married, they are eligible for two BTO flats.

“But in reality, maybe the boyfriend or the girlfriend could just move in with partner and keep the other BTO flats for capital appreciation. This is one possible loop hole for the scheme. But I think the numbers wouldn’t be very big because there are a lot of risks involved.”

Housing analysts also expect the singles scheme to have a limited impact on resale flat prices, due to different types of buyers. For example those applying for a two-room flat, are essentially those who could not afford to buy a resale flat in the past.

– CNA/ac

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/bto-flats-for-singles-in/761996.html