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HDB’s first smart homes go on sale tomorrow

SINGAPORE — The Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) first batch of about 1,400 smart homes will be launched for sale tomorrow (May 27), and analysts said today (May 25) that all eyes will be on the demand for these pricier units as private developers jump on the bandwagon of next generation homes.

SINGAPORE — The Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) first batch of about 1,400 smart homes will be launched for sale tomorrow (May 27), and analysts said today (May 25) that all eyes will be on the demand for these pricier units as private developers jump on the bandwagon of next generation homes.

The prices of the smart homes in Punggol — which are expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020 — are significantly lower than the transacted prices of resale flats in the vicinity. Nevertheless, these units, which are also located in a waterfront district, will come at a premium — about 8 to 20 per cent pricier than new flats previously launched in Punggol.

Last September, the HDB said the Punggol Northshore district — one of Punggol Eco Town’s seven signature waterfront housing districts — would be the first to trial smart technologies. 

Today, the HDB announced the details of the smart homes, including the prices, under the Northshore Residences I and II project, which are among the 4,040 flats that will be put up for sale in the Build-to-Order exercise. Apart from Punggol, the new flats will be in Clementi, Sembawang and Tampines. Another 5,000 flats will also be offered in a concurrent Sale of Balance Flats exercise.

With the inclusion of housing grants, the prices for the two-room and three-room smart home units will start from S$28,000 and S$132,000, respectively. 

Four- and five-room flats will cost upwards of S$249,000 and S$354,000, respectively. 

Eligible first-time families will get up to S$60,000 in housing grants. These are made up of the Additional CPF Housing Grant of up to S$40,000 and the Special CPF Housing Grant of up to S$20,000. 

The Northshore Residences I and II project comprises 546 two-room flats, 112 three-room units, 519 four-room units and 222 five-room units. Analysts noted the unusually high proportion of two-room units for a BTO project and suggested that the project could be targeting tech-savvy singles or elderly who could potentially benefit from the installation of home monitoring and alert systems. 

Among the project’s features are a pneumatic waste conveyance system, where vacuum-type underground pipe networks collect household waste and monitor waste disposal patterns, and a car park management system that monitors parking demand from residents and visitors.

The units will also be equipped with additional infrastructure that allow residents to easily install smart systems within the flat. HDB said that some examples of smart technologies that residents could consider adopting are the Home Energy Management System (HEMS), which enables them to monitor their energy-consumption patterns, manage their home appliances in real-time from anywhere, and possibly reduce energy usage. 

They could also consider installing monitoring and alert systems to ensure the safety and well-being of elderly occupants. 

ERA key executive officer Eugene Lim said the smart homes were priced affordably, taking into account the project is also located in the first waterfront public housing district in Punggol, and it is close to the Light Rapid Transit station and the neighbourhood centre.

Couples looking to buy their first flats told TODAY that they welcomed the added features of the smart homes. Still, Mr Eugene Luo, 23, an undergraduate, said that price is still a large factor.

“Starting a family is quite a huge investment. For me, getting an affordable BTO flat is good enough already,” he said. 

While the analysts said the smart homes will appeal to young, tech-savvy home hunters, Mr Colin Tan, director of research and consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, reiterated that, by and large, buyers here are price-conscious. “(They) will look at what directly benefits them, and if these added benefits are worth paying more for,” said Mr Tan. 

Mr Donald Han, managing director of property consultancy agency Chestertons, said private developers would “take the cue from HDB and gauge where demand is heading towards”. 

“The take-up rate of such flats would give an inkling if there is demand for houses like these,” he said.

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