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14 February 2013

14th February, Thursday




New priority scheme for flats attracts families

Source: The Straits Times

A new priority scheme to help married couples with young children secure a new Housing Board flat more quickly has seen a strong take-up. The Parenthood Priority Scheme was announced last month as part of a broader package of measures to spur marriage and parenthood in Singapore.

Under the scheme, 30 per cent of the flats in any launch of new BTO flats are reserved for married couples with children under the age of 16. This would enable such couples to secure their homes quicker and therefore encourage them to have children earlier.

Applicants in this category made up 30 per cent of the flats on offer - precisely the proportion of flats set aside for them - in the non-mature estates of Choa Chu Kang, Hougang and Yishun in last month's Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise. This means these applicants have a virtually 100 per cent chance of getting a BTO flat.

These probabilities fall, however, in the more popular mature estates of Ang Mo Kio, Kallang/ Whampoa and Tampines. There, the number of married applicants with kids was almost 80 per cent of the flat supply - more than twice the 30 per cent allocation for them.

This is according to fresh figures provided Wednesday by the HDB in response to queries from The Straits Times. The scheme took effect this year for the first time with the BTO launch of 3,346 units across six towns last month.

Experts said Wednesday it was no surprise that applicants with young children gunned for flats in mature towns, which have better transport links and amenities.

"It's a safe bet that many of these buyers are staying with their parents in these towns," said Dennis Wee Group spokesman Lee Sze Teck. "Their kids probably attend a neighbourhood school there, and this would mean minimum disruption overall."

Another analyst noted that married couples in their late 30s to 40s are likely to have sufficient savings to go for larger flats in mature towns, which will typically appreciate more in value over the years. He estimated that even more of such bidders might emerge when HDB launches "balance flats" for sale later this year. These are flats which are either close to completion or already built, and half the supply is reserved for this group.

Noting that flats in mature towns were oversubscribed by these priority applicants, an HDB spokesman said those who are unsuccessful will get another chance to ballot for a flat.

This is because their names now go into the general pool of first-timers, which includes engaged couples and married couples without children. Between 85 per cent and 95 per cent of BTO flats in any launch are reserved for this group.


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New private home discounts not cause of dip in resale prices: analyst

Source: Channelnewsasia

Prices of new private home launches usually set the benchmark for resale properties in the area. But it seems that discounts offered by developers of major properties in the city since the fourth quarter of last year may not have spoilt the market yet.

Buyers who bought units at D'Leedon near Farrer Road and Interlace at Alexandra Road in the fourth quarter last year could have enjoyed discounts of up to 15 per cent.

But analysts believe these recent deal sweeteners were not the main culprits behind the slight dip in resale prices in the city or core central region, in January. According to figures compiled from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange, January's resale private property prices in the city dipped 2.9 per cent on-month to an average of S$1,878 per sq ft.

The seventh round of cooling measures were cited for dampening buying sentiment after experts observed a slight recovery in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2012.

Experts added that properties in the city are varied, and cater to different types of buyers.

Some analysts said buyers eyeing a resale unit in the city could use discounts offered by new private homes as a bargaining chip.


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