Thursday, March 12, 2009

Buyers rush to first BTO sale of the year

Prices of resale flats may have dropped significantly but if the response for a build-to-order (BTO) flat sale in Woodlands is anything to go by, homebuyers still prefer brand new flats, even if they have to wait for them.

Some 3,239 applications were received for 815 flats at Champions Court at Woodlands — the first HDB BTO flat sale this year — at the end of the application period yesterday.

Mr Chris Koh, director of Dennis Wee Group, a real estate company, said he was “not surprised” by the strong demand.

He told Today: “The location of the flats is very good. It is near to the central and amenities like the MRT.

“And the prices of the flats are attractive, compared to resale flats in the area ... a new three-room flat costs around $140,000 and a five-room flat costs not more than $300,000.”

According to Mr Koh, the new flats in the Woodlands area are generally “around $60,000 cheaper then resale flats” there.

But there’s a downside to buying the cheaper new flats: Homebuyers usually have to wait around three years for their new flats to be ready but buying a resale flat eliminates the waiting game.

Still, Mr Koh noted, there are people, such as young couples who are getting married, who “will always want to get a brand new flat”.

The Housing Development Board said it was “happy” that “our offer of smaller flats in this first BTO launch for the year was well received”.

HDB plans to launch about 3,000 BTO flats in the first half of the year, of which about 1,400 are smaller studio apartments, two-room and three-room flats.

Source: Today, 12 Mar 2009

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