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05 February 2013

5th February, Tuesday




2.2 first-timer applicants for each unit in latest BTO sales exercise

Source: Today

Application rates for first-timers rose marginally in the latest Build-To-Order flats sales exercise, the first BTO offering this year.

Applications close at midnight but as of 5pm, there were 2.2 first-timers applying for each new unit, compared to the 1.8 figure in the previous exercise in November last year.

It is also the first time since March last year that the application rate for first-timers has gone above two. The application rate then was 2.2.

A total of 3,346 new flats in six BTO projects were offered in the sales exercise. The projects are in both the mature towns of Ang Mo Kio, Kallang-Whampoa and Tampines as well as in non-mature towns Choa Chu Kang, Hougang and Yishun.

Observers said the increase in first-timer application rates could be due partly to the introduction of the new Parenthood Priority Scheme. Under the scheme, married couples with children under the age of 16 have priority when they apply for new flats for the first time. 30 per cent of flats are set aside for them.

Five-room flats in Ang Mo Kio were the most heavily subscribed. As of 5pm, there were 8.1 first-timer applicants and 91.2 second-timer applicants for each of the 103 five-room units on offer in the Ang Mo Kio project.

“We can put it down to two reasons. One is because it is in a mature estate and the location is good. The other reason is that the number of flats (offered) is also low, only 283 (in total). Only five per cent is allocated for second timers, and if there are really a lot of upgraders who want to stay in Ang Mo Kio, naturally the numbers would be high because of the supply, which is low,” said Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior manager for research and consultancy at Dennis Wee Group.

There was also strong demand for the project in Tampines. There were 4.9 first-timers and 45.8 second-timers applying for each four-room flat.


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Slow weekend for sales at showflats

Source: The Straits Times

Property sales at showflats continued to slow over the weekend as home-seekers adopted a wait-and-see approach in the wake of the new cooling measures.

A combination of Chinese New Year distractions and the possibility that some developers might start throwing in discounts meant sales are being put on hold.

Q Bay - the joint development by Frasers Centrepoint, Far East Organization and Sekisui House - at Tampines sold just 10 units at the weekend, bringing the total to 382 out of 630 units.

Weekend sales were also slow at La Fiesta, which sold just seven units, mostly two-bedders, although all its one-bedroom units have been taken. The project has sold 405 out of 810 units at an average price of $1,150 per sq ft since the 11 January preview launch.

CapitaLand bucked the mediocre sales trend, thanks to new and existing discounts at its Interlace and d'Leedon projects.

Discounts of up to 15 per cent were offered for the 1,715-unit d'Leedon last week.

At The Interlace, an additional cut of 10 per cent was dangled on the weekend in addition to a 10 per cent discount offered previously. The incentives helped The Interlace move 15 units while d'Leedon sold a robust 47 units on the weekend.


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HDB may allow 'non-approved' uses for its shops

Source: The Straits Times

Businesses that would normally be relegated to industrial parks may be able to set up shop in retail space managed by the HDB.

A Housing Board spokesman told The Straits Times recently that "when there is a request to operate trades not considered as among the approved uses, we will assess the applications on a case-by-case basis".

She added that the "specific nature of the businesses and their impact on the surrounding shops and residents" would be looked at. "We also need to ensure that these areas already have a sufficient number of shops offering a wide variety of trades to meet the daily needs of residents."

Rents at HDB shops located farther from town centres or main transport nodes average $3 to $4 psf per month while more centrally located ones can cost $5 to $6 psf. Suburban mall rents are much more expensive at $13 to $15 psf per month, or even $30 psf for prime units.


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