Singapore

HDB launches 
more than 5,200 flats

1,394 units available under first Re-Offer of Balance Flats exercise


Homebuyers in urgent need of flats now have 1,394 units to choose from - of which 393 are in popular mature estates such as Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio and Queenstown.

But there is a catch: these are flats which were not taken up in previous sales exercises, for various reasons.

They were made available again yesterday in the first Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise, which pooled all balance flats last offered in November last year.

Altogether, more than 5,200 Build-To-Order and ROF flats were launched for sale yesterday.

Applicants may apply for a flat from under either exercise but not both.

Unlike the existing Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) scheme, the ROF groups all available balance flats in a common pool, and homebuyers do not have to apply for a specific estate.

Under the ROF, homebuyers - based on their balloted queue numbers - pick their preferred unit from the pool.

HDB was not able to specify how long the ROF units had been on the market.

But they could cater to homebuyers with more urgent housing needs and who are less particular about location.

Some 71 per cent are completed, so they can be moved into sooner.

The ROF will take place every August and February.

The flats offered in this first ROF exercise comprise 110 two-room Flexi units, 384 three-room units, 624 four-room units, 260 five-room units, seven 3Gen units, and nine executive flats.

If there are still no takers, the Government may have to decide to relax the ethnic quota, or lower the price.Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at Zacd Group

SET ASIDE

HDB will set aside at least 95 per cent of the flat supply for families buying a flat for the first time, and up to 5 per cent for families purchasing for the second time.

Seniors may apply if they meet eligibility conditions to buy a two-room Flexi flat.

Property agents said some of the flats could still be on the market because of their small size or a location on lower floors.

Some may also be available only to Malays, Indians and other non-Chinese races.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at Zacd Group, said less desirable flats "may snowball and go over to the next round" of the re-offer.

"If there are still no takers, the Government may have to decide to relax the ethnic quota, or lower the price," he said.

PropNex Realty's chief executive Ismail Gafoor said he expected "strong demand" for the ROF units, partly because homebuyers could move into them more quickly than BTOs.

Furthermore, they are priced about 20 per cent to 30 per cent lower than resale flats in the same areas, he noted.

Applications for new flats launched in this month's BTO and ROF exercise can be submitted online on the HDB InfoWEB until Aug 7.

Meanwhile, about 4,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in Bukit Batok and Sengkang were yesterday launched for sale, as part of the August BTO exercise.

Prices are lower given that the flats are in non-mature estates.

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