New scheme to cover two flat types

Studio apartments and two-room flats will be combined into a single scheme in the next Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise to be held in August, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed to the media.

“The details are being thought through. We will work towards launching the new unified scheme by the time of the next BTO exercise,” he said.

The next BTO exercise in August will offer 2,150 flats in Bidadari and 2,710 flats in Punggol. The flats in Bidadari will include studio apartments, while those in Punggol will include two-room units. Currently, the two HDB schemes are different since they serve different clientele, stated Mr Khaw.

Studio apartments, which come with a 30-year lease, are meant for elderly home owners, aged at least 55, who are using a previous flat to finance their retirement. Two-room flats, on the other hand, have a 99-year lease and are meant for singles or families. While both flat types come in 45 sqm and 36 sqm sizes, prices of studio apartments are lower due to their shorter leases.

“While the differences are logical, they can be quite confusing for potential buyers. We will try to see if we can replace both schemes with a single scheme,” noted the Minister. “But to continue to accommodate the different needs of different buyers, we can allow the new scheme to come with different lease tenure and different sales terms,” he added.

The news was welcomed by Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Gan Thiam Poh, who has called for shorter lease tenures for HDB flats since 2012. “Shorter leases may really help people who might not be able to afford flats otherwise,” he said.

However, property experts are worried about the unified scheme’s resale implications. “There will be two-room flats of various leases within the same block all over Singapore. This could cause complications in the market,” shared Nicholas Mak, head of research at SLP International Property Consultants.

Century 21 chief executive officer Ku Swee Yong noted that the shorter leases will see families inheriting flats with only a few years left on their leases, making them difficult to sell.

 

Cheryl Marie Tay, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories emailcheryl@propertyguru.com.sg

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