UP FOR grabs: a two-room flat in Sembawang that costs just $10,000, with housing grants.
With the Housing Board’s latest Build-To-Order flat launch, experts say this has set the lowest price for a flat in recent memory.
The HDB yesterday launched 3,497 new flats in the non-mature towns of Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun.
Only one flat boasts of this price, but others can be had for a few hundred dollars more.
The HDB said yesterday that that one flat is the lowest priced two-roomer offered since 2011, when the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) of $20,000 was introduced.
Experts told MyPaper that this is one of the lowest prices set for a BTO flat in many years.
“It is really unprecedented,” said PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor.
The HDB appears to have been offering smaller flats at lower prices in recent years. In the previous BTO launch in January, a two-room flat in Woodlands Glen was going for $13,000 with grants and $73,000 without grants.
The two-room EastLace and EastCrown flats are not the cheapest in terms of overall price – in June 2010, a two-room flat at Rivervale Arc went for $68,000. But overall housing grants were also lower at that time, as the SHG did not exist then.
First-timer households can now enjoy up to $60,000 in housing grants, comprising of the SHG and the Additional CPF Housing Grant of $40,000.
ERA’s key executive officer, Mr Eugene Lim, pointed out that one reason for the low price of these flats is their smaller size.
In terms of internal floor area, the flats come in two sizes – 36 sq m and 45 sq m. Two-room flats are usually bigger than 40 sq m, said Mr Lim.
Nevertheless, the overall price is lower and this shows the Government is “trying to keep the quantum affordable, especially for low-income families,” he said.
Several noted that the downward trend for small-flat prices comes as construction and labour costs have gone up in recent years.
“The smaller the flat is, the greater the subsidy the Government seems to give in the pricing,” said Mr Ismail, who added that the delinking of new flat pricing from resale flat prices in 2011 has also played a part.
All this is part of the recent push by the Government to provide more for the poor.
“It’s all part of the increased social welfare that the Government is giving to Singaporeans, even though welfare remains a dirty word,” said SLP International research head Nicholas Mak.