By Olivia Siong | POSTED: 26 Sep 2013 23:41 | CNA


Prices for the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) new 3Gen flats in Yishun will start from S$335,000, excluding grants.

Several potential home buyers and analysts Channel NewsAsia spoke with say they think this price is reasonable.

The prices were announced at the HDB’s latest sales launch on Thursday where 5,293 flats are on offer.

It is the first time the HDB is offering 3Gen flats at its sales launch, which are aimed at multi-generation families living under one roof.

Eighty-four units in Yishun are available. They are about five square metres bigger than a five-room unit.

The price of S$335,000 is about two per cent more than a five-room flat in the same project that has a starting price of S$327,000.

Potential buyer Jeremy Lee said: “For two households to pay for these flats, I think it’s quite reasonable.”

Another potential home buyer, Anna Yayan, concurred: “If we combine the CPF of our parents and ourselves, I think we can pay off the price of the house. There’s no need to take a loan… and with that, we can actually save for the future, for our retirement.”

Leow Mei Hui, also a potential home buyer, said: “Comparing with the size of flats now, the multi-gen flats are bigger and yet the pricing is comparable. And it is a plus point if someone wants to stay with their parents.”

Property analysts say the pricing is attractive relative to the resale market.

HDB says five-room resale flats in the vicinity, around 121 to 131 square metres in size, were transacted between S$500,000 to S$535,888.

Director of Chris International, Chris Koh, elaborated: “Should you want to buy a resale five-room flat, you will never get it at that price. So what’s more is now you’ve got one more bedroom, you’ve also got an additional bathroom. So I would think the demand would be strong for these 84 units.

“But it’s not so much the price, if you ask me. It’s about the additional bedroom, the additional bathroom. Sometimes when you do your renovations and you want to take a flat and restructure it, even if you have the money to renovate it, the infrastructure doesn’t allow you to put in another bedroom or another bathroom.

“I guess the trade-off would be — maybe the living room may be smaller, or the kitchen may be smaller because we now have to squeeze in a bedroom. But (those) five square metres will help. At least I have a bit more space to work with, put in a room and a bathroom.”

There are over 5,200 HDB flats on sale this time round. They include 4,156 new Build-to-Order (BTO) flats in Punggol and Yishun.

And to cater to the strong demand from singles, HDB is offering 1,137 two-room flats from previous BTO exercises. That is more than double the total number of two-room flats launched in July.

The units are in various estates, including Hougang, which is the most heavily subscribed as of 5pm on Thursday with about 24 singles applying for each unit on offer there.

There are a total of 16 two-room flats on offer in Hougang. Thirty per cent of two-room flats in non-mature estates are set aside for singles.

In another draw, 45 per cent of these balance flats have been completed while the rest are under construction.

Wendy Ng, a single who applied for a two-room flat in Jurong East, said: “The previous time I tried, and I didn’t even get a chance to have a queue number. The choices (are) better because they have already completed units for us to choose, to move in, rather than the previous one (round where) I’d have to wait till 2017.”

Experts say while more singles may be drawn to the BTO market, others may still opt for the resale market.

Key executive officer of ERA Realty Network, Eugene Lim, explained: “It’s quite likely that more buyers will be looking at the new flats, rather than the resale market. That being said, you will also find that there will be singles who are basically looking at a bigger space.

“So… maybe (they are) just waiting for COVs (cash-over-valuation) to come down a little bit more, before picking up something in the resale market.”

This month’s BTO exercise will close on October 2.

The HDB has said its next BTO launch will be in November where close to 5,000 units will be on offer in areas like Jurong West and Bukit Batok.

In addition, another 3,000 balance flats will also be put up for sale.

This month’s BTO launch will also see the enhanced Multi-Generation Priority Scheme kick in.

Previously, the scheme allowed parents applying for a studio apartment or a two-room flat to submit a joint application with their married child, to apply for a two-room or bigger flat in the same BTO project.

But from this BTO launch onwards, parents will also be allowed to apply for a three-room flat under the scheme.

HDB will also set aside up to 15 per cent of the studio apartments, two-room and three-room flats in a BTO project for parents applying under the scheme.

The same number of two-room and bigger flats will be set aside in the same BTO project for their married children.

– CNA/gn