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Launches of prime location flats should be less frequent, have bigger units and stick to core central area: Analysts

Launches of prime location flats should be less frequent, have bigger units and stick to core central area: Analysts
SINGAPORE — Given the modest take-up rate of prime location flats in the latest Built-To-Order (BTO) exercise, the Government could consider waiting longer before launching the next selection of such units, ensure that they are in the city centre and offer larger units, analysts said.
Housing and Development Board (HDB) figures showed that application rates for four-room flats was higher across all three non-prime developments, in Yishun and Jurong West, compared to the two in Bukit Merah and Ghim Moh under the Prime Location Public Housing scheme.
Past midnight on Friday (June 3), the last day of the latest BTO application exercise, four-room flats at Bukit Merah Ridge and Ghim Moh Ascent were subscribed 4.9 and 3.9 times respectively, in contrast to more than 10 times for the first flats in Rochor under the new scheme. 
"Evidently, buyers are not sold on the idea of prime location flats outside the city centre for this scheme. Perhaps HDB can take a leaf from the private market and use the definition of Core Central Region as the boundaries for such flats," said Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior director of research at property agency Huttons Asia.
Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty Network, added that given the strong buyers’ preference for bigger flats in HDB's prime location projects, the public housing agency should switch more of the buildable space in such projects from three-room flats to larger flats.
Other real estate analysts believe that the frequency of these launches so far — one in November last year, followed by another in February this year and then again in May — may have affected its take-up rates. 
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