Housing needs and new HDB models paved way for public flats in prime Bukit Timah Turf City area: analysts

Housing needs and new HDB models paved way for public flats in prime Bukit Timah Turf City area: analysts

“UNPRECEDENTED” APARTMENTS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Before the introduction of the public housing model in prime locations in 2021 and the HDB housing estate grading system in 2023, there were many concerns about the introduction of public housing in prime locations, Ismail said.

The issues included affordable pricing for flats, the possible windfall and the need to curb speculative behaviour, he added.

“With the models in place, it has allowed the government to gradually introduce more public housing projects in prime locations.”

And the public housing apartments planned for Turf City are likely to fit the Prime Location model, analysts told CNA.

These apartments have a minimum occupancy period of 10 years and a recovery clause, so the first owners have to return part of the subsidies when they sell the apartment.

The first owners can also sell the flat only to buyers who meet certain conditions, including an income limit of S$14,000 for couples or families and S$7,000 for singles.

The immediate Turf City neighborhood comprises mostly land properties, including Good Class Bungalows, noted ERA key executive director Eugene Lim.

“It is unprecedented for us to see HDB flats in the same neighbourhood,” he added.

Property observers predicted that HDB flats would make up no more than 40 per cent of the new housing planned for Turf City.

“Following the principle of highest and best use of land, private housing is likely to make up the majority of new housing to be built there,” Lim said.

Alan Cheong, executive director of research and consulting at Savills, said: “If there was too much public housing, whatever you can say about the need for inclusion, that in itself will change the perception of private owners in the area about how prime the location will be in the future.”

He believes HDB flats there would be priced above average and would likely be larger units with few options for singles or renters.

Taking cues from other Prime Location launches and how four-bedroom flats in the Toh Yi area of ​​Bukit Timah traded at an average of S$800,000 in the first quarter of 2024, Huttons Asia senior director Lee Sze Teck said four-bedroom apartments at Turf City can start from S$600,000 when they are launched for application in the coming years.