Kim Keat Beacon, located in Toa Payoh, is a residential unit that got a lot of attention lately, as soon as it was announced that it is going to be transformed into a Built-To-Order project. With a capacity of 542 units, all of them being flats with three and four rooms, ideal for families, this development attracted no less than 2,400 applicants. The Housing Board is in charge of the process while implementing new ways that will support young families to get a house faster. Overall, there were 3,970 units offered for sale this May, with a total number of applicants reaching 7,603.
But, in spite of the apparently good numbers, the key executive officer of ERA Realty, Mr. Eugene Lim, said that the number of applications was rather low in comparison with the sales launched in the recent past, which can be closely connected to the somewhat inconvenient locations of the units were provided. Concerning the popularity of Kim Keat Beacon, he said that it was expected from homebuyers to swarm in, as Toa Payoh was always among the most preferred residential areas. It provides a wide range of amenities and has a central location, allowing its residents to reach any destination in no time.
The last time a BTO project was launched near Kim Keat happened in 2012 when studio-type flats were designed and destined for senior citizens. So, it’s quite a while since any units were available in this area. But, besides the much-awaited launch, the month of May brings in new measures that regard young families. They were all debated by the Ministry of National Development when discussing the budget in this sector for the year. The first change concerns the assessment of a family’s income, which will be deferred to the moment prior to the family getting the keys of their new home instead of covering this stage at the moment of the application, as it recently happened. Secondly, the applicants that invoke the Senior Priority Scheme or Married Child Priority Scheme can proceed if their parents or married children live within 4 kilometers from the desired unit. Thus, 2 more kilometers were added to the existent 2 kilometers mentioned by previous regulations.
According to Ku Swee Yong, who is the chief executive of International Property Advisor, the number of application would be significantly lower without these new modifications to the existent policy. But, at the same time, he launched a warning saying that postponing the income assessment will make young couples commit to buying a new home out of desire and not out of necessity, which may be reflected in elevated drop-out rates when the moment of truth comes. Still, Nicholas Mak, the executive director of ZACD Group has a different opinion on this matter. He believes that the deferment of income assessment will not trigger a significant increase in demand, as the new policy targets students and national servicemen with a full-time job, who, in most cases, have ages of 20 to 21 years old. Having in mind that the marriage age is, on average, 30 years old, it is less likely for a spike to occur. Mr. Kim added to this opinion with the fact that young people prefer working for a few years before applying for a home, as it is a significant financial burden. So it is not expected for the demand to explode.
Guinevere Teong, a public service manager of 24 years old, and her boyfriend for the last year and a half, Lester Tan, a bank analyst of 27 years old, are one of the couples that applied for a flat with four room in Kim Keat. It is their first application for a BTO and they are using the MCPS scheme, as Ms. Teong’s parents are living nearby. From her point of view, it is great that they are offered the chance to be close to their family. Also, homebuyers interested in getting units in Punggol and Yishun should keep their eyes peeled for a new BTO launch in the area that will take place in August, this year.
For private developments, there are several new launch condos that are located in the city fringe. Park Colonial at Woodleigh and The Tre Ver near Potong Pasir will be released in July 2018. Upcoming Stirling Residences and the newly released Margaret Ville are both also situated nearby Queenstown MRT station