By Saifulbahri Ismail | POSTED: 02 Oct 2013 18:50 | CNA

SINGAPORE

The demand from singles for two-room flats remains strong in the Housing and Development Board’s latest sales exercise.

This continues after the government more than doubled the supply of two-room flats in this exercise.

It is only the second time that singles are able to apply for a flat directly from the HDB.

Applications close at midnight on Wednesday. And as of 5pm, there are 26 singles applying for each two-room Build-To-Order flat in Punggol. About 60 two-room units have been set aside for singles there.

As for some 380 two-room balance flats made available to singles, those in Hougang are proving the most popular with 153 singles applying for each unit available.

Other popular areas include Choa Chu Kang and Punggol.

There are 43 singles applying for each unit in Punggol and 15 applications for each unit in Choa Chu Kang.

Property analysts say the strong demand may prompt the government to review the allocation of these units for singles.

Currently, singles are allocated 30 per cent of the flat supply, while first time applicants are allocated 40 per cent.

Mohamed Ismail Gafoor, CEO of Propnex, said: “When you look at it, the subscription by the family units are relatively small, especially for the first timers. In fact, they are less than twice the number allotted to them while the singles number are double digit.

“Is there a possibility where we can tweak the numbers? Instead of allocating 30 per cent, can we increase maybe to 50 per cent for the singles? By increasing the numbers and the chances of success rate, (this will) eventually clear the queue a bit more faster.”

The number of families applying for two-room flats has been low. For example, in Punggol, only 15 applications were made out of 192 units.

Industry experts believe this is because many families would have already gotten their two-room flats, which have been built and sold over the years.

However, they said priority for two-room flats should still be given to families.

Director of property firm Chris International, Chris Koh, said: “Before we tweak, we also need to remember that we are catering to the lower income families to buy the two-room flats. If the numbers remain small, I would say we can adjust a little.”

“There is also a need to look at the low income second timers. Have a look at those numbers also before we tweak and give more allocation to the singles,” suggested Koh.

HDB also launched 84 “Three-Generation” flats in September’s BTO exercise to encourage multi-generational living.

1,050 applications were received for the 344 units of five-room and 3Gen generation flats on offer.

– CNA/fa

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/demand-from-singles-for/833942.html