Thursday, August 7, 2008

Over 2,300 Applications For AMK Condo-Style HDB Flats

Source : The Business Times, August 7, 2008

UPCOMING Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project Park Central @ AMK received over 2,300 applications - or four times the 578 units on offer - when submissions closed at midnight on Tuesday, developer United Engineers (UE) said yesterday.

But this does not mean that the project will definitely be fully sold, analysts said. For the previous DBSS project City View @ Boon Keng, some 3,500 applicants vied for 714 flats, but only 460 homes were sold after the first round.

Under the Housing Board's DBSS scheme, the developer has flexibility in designing and pricing the flats.

The average selling price for units in Park Central @ AMK is $490-$500 per square foot (psf), said UE. Four-room flats will go for $433,000-$567,000, while five-room apartments will sell for $534,000-$689,000.

Park Central will fare better than City View as the pricing is more attractive, analysts said. 'At City View @ Boon Keng, the majority of the flats were priced higher than $600,000, which was an obstacle for buyers,' said Eugene Lim, assistant vice-president of property agency ERA Asia-Pacific. 'At this price ($490-$500 psf) you should be able to sell.'

City View also faced the problem of applicants who in the end did not meet the required criteria to buy HDB flats.

But for Park Central, UE believes that most of the applicants are eligible buyers with genuine interest.

'We have tried our best to minimise non-eligible applications that could distort application numbers and delay processing time,' said David Liew, managing director of UE's property development division. 'However, how the applications will eventually translate into real sales figures greatly depends on the market conditions at the point where the selection process begins.'

Developers and analysts here are more upbeat about the HDB and mass market private home segments compared with the rest of the residential market.

Right now, the key seems to be pricing. Developers who price homes below their competitors' and those willing to drop prices seem to be clearing units.

For example, local developer Roxy-Pacific Holdings on Tuesday said that it has launched six projects since Chinese New Year. To date, some 114 - out of a total 165 offered - have been sold.

'The market is of course challenging,' said Teo Hong Lim, chief executive of Roxy-Pacific. His company's advantage, he said, was in the pricing. Apartments in the six projects were mostly sold for $800-$1,100 psf - even though they are located in the more central areas of Singapore. Roxy-Pacific hopes to push out another three developments by the end of this year.

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