Singapore

Woodlands' attractive BTO prices may not be enough for buyers

Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in Woodlands have been attractively priced, but will buyers bite?

The Housing Board launched 4,802 new BTO flats on Thursday. These flats are in the non-mature towns of Woodlands and Yishun and the mature towns of Bidadari (Toa Payoh) and Geylang.

In a Facebook post, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong urged buyers to consider flats in the less popular estates of Yishun and Woodlands.

He wrote that new infrastructure such as MRT stations, the North-South corridor to the city centre and the Rapid Transit System connection to Johor Baru will improve transport connectivity for Woodlands residents.

But buyers and real estate-watchers said these may not be enough to draw Singaporeans to the area for now, even if the price of flats there are attractive.

A three-room flat in Woodlands can go for as little as $70,000 after grants.

The New Paper understands that this is the lowest a new three-room BTO has been priced in four years.

According to the HDB, eligible first-timer families can receive up to $80,000 of housing grants - the Additional CPF Housing Grant and the Special CPF Housing Grant.

But Mr Quintino Cassano Lee, division director at real estate company Huttons Asia, told TNP: "Despite the attractive pricing, I don't think there will be a major increase in buyers applying for BTO flats in Woodlands as it is still relatively far away from the central area."

Miss Kate Wang, 26, said she feels that the location is a deterrent for Woodlands flats.

She is looking at applying for a BTO flat this year with her boyfriend.

She told TNP: "While Woodlands flats are cheaper, it is still out of the way, and I want to be closer to my parents in Hougang and my workplace in Upper Thomson."

Plans were announced last month for Woodlands to undergo a slew of developments under the Remaking Our Heartland programme.

The developments include an improved Woodlands Waterfront, a new town plaza in Woodlands Central and a new "community nexus" near Admiralty MRT station, which will serve as a one-stop hub for amenities.

These improvements can lead to capital appreciation, said Mr Nicholas Mak, research head at international property consultants SLP International.

Coupled with the lower prices, the BTO flats in the area could be attractive to buyers.

The New Paper visited Toa Payoh HDB Hub yesterday to speak to prospective buyers.

Sengkang resident Leon Tay, 28, is not keen on flats in Woodlands and is looking for BTO or Sale of Balance Flats flats around the Punggol area.

The cabin crew member said: "I would rather go for flats that would offer higher property valuation in the future. It is more lucrative, so why not?"

tnp@sph.com.sg

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