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HDB flats in hot demand

As published in The Straits Times
14 Oct 09 (Wednesday)

By Jessica Cheam

The Housing Board advised first-time buyers who would like greater certainty in securing a flat to apply for the Build-to-Order (BTO) flats. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

AS AN indication of the red hot demand for public flats, the Housing Board (HDB) was swamped with 20,691 applications for its biggest sales exercise - 2,132 flats - in recent times on its closing day.

This means there are about 10 bids for every available flat. HDB said on Wednesday that it had 'expected strong interest for these flats as they are limited in number, are located in the popular mature estates, and are either completed or close to completion'.

About seven out of 10 applicants are first-timers, said HDB. But despite the priority given to first-time flat buyers, the chances of being short-listed to select a flat in this exercise 'will not be high due to the overwhelming response', it said.

Buyers' demand for completed or near-completed flats extended even to the traditionally less popular estates away from the city such as Punggol and Sengkang.

There were 1,073 bids for 86 four-roomers in Punggol, fo rexample, which translates to 12.5 applicants for every flat.

HDB urged first-time flat buyers who would like 'greater certainty in securing a flat' to apply for its build-to-order (BTO) flats. HDB said its records show that 96 per cent of first-timers have been given a chance to select a BTO flat within two tries. About 90 per cent of all flats in BTO projects are set aside for first-time home buyers.


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