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Old 09-08-2004, 11:09 PM   #346
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quite obvious that hdb adopted a private prop type transaction procedure but overlooked some loopholes which the unscrupulous can exploit.
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Old 10-08-2004, 09:11 AM   #347
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AUG 10, 2004

PAP town councils explain fee hike

WE REFER to the recent letters and reports in the media concerning the revision of service and conservancy charges (S&CC).

The last general revision of the S&CC was implemented seven years ago. Since then, costs had gone up. For example, water and electricity tariffs have increased by about 60 and 15 per cent respective-ly since 1997. Lift-mainten-ance costs have also increased by about 15 per cent.

Town councils are funded primarily by S&CC collections from residents. About 30 to 40 per cent of the S&CC collections are transferred to a sinking fund for major cyclical works like repainting, re-roofing, rewiring, and replacement of lifts, pumps and water-supply systems in HDB estates. This is mandatory under the Town Councils Act.

The balance goes towards routine operating expenditure for maintenance of common property, such as cleaning works, building and lift repairs, horticultural works, utilities charges, management fees, computer services and other overheads.

As a result of cost increases over the years, the gap between the S&CC collections and what it costs town councils to maintain the common property has been growing. If not for the operating grant from Government, nearly all councils would already have a net deficit. This clearly cannot be sustained if the councils are not to compromise their level of service to residents.

In order to curb the rise in operating expenditure, the PAP town councils have embarked on many cost-saving measures, without compromising the standards of maintenance of the estates. Two examples are the introduction of energy-saving devices and components during major rewiring programmes, and the joint procurement of computer services by the PAP councils which allows each council to reap the benefits of economies of scale. With the adoption of these pro-active measures, the councils generally managed to cap the increase in cost to about 10 to 15 per cent over the last seven years.

While it is necessary for the S&CC to be increased, the PAP councils have generally moderated the increases to between 2 and 5 per cent on average to minimise the impact on households.

The varying rates of S&CC among the councils arise from differences in the age, profile, maintenance needs and facilities of their estates. We will continue to provide assistance to those households which are in genuine financial difficulty.

The PAP councils adopt a prudent approach in financial management with due consideration of the long-term needs of our towns. The councils will not allow themselves to run into yearly deficits as this will hamper their ability to meet the expectations of the residents for a well-maintained estate with adequate amenities.

Our prudent and long-term approach enables us to set aside sufficient funds not only for operating expenditures but also for planned town-improvement projects, especially for ageing precincts.

We would like to assure the writers and our residents that the PAP councils will continue to improve the maintenance and upkeep of the towns, while keeping costs down. We firmly believe that a well-maintained estate will help the residents to preserve the value of their flats, and enhance their living environment.


FOO SAY CHIANG
Chief Executive Officer East Coast Town Council
on behalf of the 14 PAP town councils
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Old 11-08-2004, 02:53 PM   #348
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They expert taichi ppl mah.
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Old 13-08-2004, 01:14 PM   #349
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TODAY
No re-poll for Paya Lebar upgrading scheme

Friday • August 13, 2004

We refer to the letters on the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) at Pelton Place (in Paya Lebar) by Mr Leong Sze Hian, "Let them vote again soon", (Aug 2), Mr Tan Hock Ann, "Vote was against package, not upgrading", (Aug 4), and Ms Josephine Ong, "Upgrading thwarted by minority misconception", (Aug 5).

Ms Ong said it was disheartening to have the MUP aborted because the minority said no, while Mr Leong suggested that flat owners be given the chance to poll again in a year or two.

The MUP is a heavily-subsidised programme. Flat owners need only pay between 10 and 20 per cent of the upgrading costs for the Standard Package.

Under the Housing & Development Act, HDB will implement the MUP if at least 75 per cent of eligible flat owners in a precinct vote for it.

This high support level is required so that upgrading will proceed only if there is a clear mandate and commitment from the residents.

HDB understands the disappointment of the residents at Pelton Place who had looked forward to the MUP.

However, we must preserve the integrity of the polling system and are thus unable to consider a re-poll. Besides, there are no provisions under the Act to do so.

As to whether the MUP could be offered to Pelton Place again in future, this will depend on the financial resources available.

HDB will also have to consider the fact that there are many other precincts still eligible for the MUP.

Mr Leong and Mr Tan raised several queries on the MUP package and costs.

The package is a comprehensive one that improves the overall living environment by providing improvements within the flats, the blocks and the precinct.

HDB reviews the MUP regularly to ensure that it meets the needs of residents and provides value for money. Over the last few years, HDB has focused the scope of works on core items that provide tangible benefits, thereby reducing the amount flat owners have to pay.

As the MUP is already heavily-subsidised, there is currently no "discount" if some flat owners choose to opt out from certain improvement items under the Standard Package.

Nonetheless, flat owners do vote separately for the Space-Adding Item (SAI) under the Standard Plus Package and there is no need to pay for the SAI if it does not obtain the 75 per cent "Yes" votes.

We would like to assure residents that, in drawing up the upgrading package for the precinct, HDB and the MUP Working Committee for Pelton Place had tried its best to accommodate residents' feedback.

Residents were duly informed of what the package entailed through newsletters, a mini exhibition, straw polls and house-to-house visits. They were also informed of the financial assistance available.

During the polling period, HDB officers and the Working Committee members, including grassroots leaders, were also on site daily to explain the benefits of the MUP and attend to residents' queries.

Tay Boon Sun

For Director Corporate Development

Housing & Development Board
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Old 17-08-2004, 12:57 PM   #350
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How to safeguard flat resale transaction

I REFER to the letters, 'Watch out for other pitfalls in HDB transactions' by Mr Daniel Tan Kim Seah, 'Housing Board reply was no help at all' by Mr Eddy Tanumihardja (ST, Aug 9) and 'Let flat buyers exercise option via post' by Mr Tham Kim Fay (ST, Aug 11).

In implementing the Option to Purchase, we needed to keep the resale transaction simple and cost-effective, especially for the lower-income group.

If it becomes mandatory for sellers and buyers to engage solicitors at the contractual stage, additional costs would be involved.

We therefore leave it to the parties to decide whether to engage their own solicitors before the registration of the resale application.

It is important for prospective buyers to check if the seller is the actual owner of the resale flat and whether he is eligible to sell it in the open market. In the covering note to the Option to Purchase, this is stated clearly.

Prospective buyers can request to see the seller's Certificate of Eligibility to Sell. This certificate is issued by the respective HDB Branch Office to confirm the seller's ownership and eligibility to sell the flat.

Buyers may also wish to agree upfront with the seller to appoint a third party or firm (eg, solicitor's firm or housing agency) to receive the signed Option and the Option Exercise fee by completing the Authorisation Form provided in the Option to Purchase. The appointed party or firm should be easily contactable.

We advise prospective buyers and sellers to familiarise themselves with the resale process. There are several avenues where they can obtain information, such as at our monthly resale seminar, online at HDB InfoWEB (www.hdb.gov.sg), or by purchasing a copy of our Resale Guide. For general enquiries, the public can call our Sales/Resale Customer Service line on 1800-8663066.

We will continue to monitor the situation and review the measures that would ensure a smooth transaction. We thank Mr Tan, Mr Tanumihardja and Mr Tham for their suggestions and feedback.



LOH SWEE HENG
Deputy Director (Resale)
for Director (Estate Administration & Property)
Housing & Development Board

Last edited by jq75; 17-08-2004 at 12:59 PM..
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Old 22-08-2004, 09:21 PM   #351
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ST AUG 21, 2004

Bank's mortgagee sale of HDB flat a first

Owner gives it up voluntarily as he can't service OCBC loan; it's first mortgagee sale by a bank since HDB home loan market was opened up

AN OWNER of a Housing Board flat has made history by surrendering it to OCBC Bank because he could no longer continue to make the monthly payments on his housing loan.

The bank has put the three-room flat up for sale. This is the first mortgagee sale by a bank since the HDB home loan market was opened to banks on Jan 1 last year.

OCBC's head of consumer secured lending, Mr Gregory Chan, said it had put the HDB flat on the market because the owner had volunteered to give it up.

'We have not repossessed any HDB flat and, by that, we mean that we have not forced any HDB home owner to surrender his flat because he defaulted on his loan,' he added.

HDB stopped giving market-rate loans to flat buyers from the start of last year.

Unless the flat buyer is eligible for special HDB concessionary loans, he will have to borrow from banks, which will take first charge on the mortgage.

This means the bank gets priority before all other creditors in seizing the flat if the home buyer defaults on the loan.

OCBC Bank is the market leader in the HDB home loan market, with a 43 per cent share as of last month.

To help flat buyers who have problems making their payments, OCBC will allow them to pay only the interest portion of the loan for a short period of time, or it will stretch the loan period so as to reduce the monthly repayment amount, said Mr Chan.

It may even allow them to include a second loan applicant to help service the initial loan, he added.

Repossession is a last resort. Mr Chan said the bank would resort to legal action only after it has exhausted all reasonable possibilities.

'Typically, we would have sent reminders and spoken with our customers over the phone, as well as met them face to face to try to explore workable options,' he said.
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Old 25-08-2004, 09:28 PM   #352
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CPF Housing Top-up Grant / Existing Schemes Helping Young Couples Set Up Home

CPF Housing Top-Up Grant Scheme
To encourage single Singaporeans to marry, Singles Grant recipients who later marry a Singapore Citizen or a Singapore Permanent Resident can apply for a "Top-Up Grant" under the CPF Housing Top-Up Grant Scheme. As a married couple, they will be given a Top-Up Grant which is the difference between the current Family Grant of $30,000, or $40,000 (if they buy a resale flat or their existing flat is within the same town or within 2km of their parents' home) and the Singles Grant that they have already received.
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Old 25-08-2004, 09:32 PM   #353
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HDB takes back 5 flats after owners abandon them

ST AUG 25, 2004

Since loan rules revised, 5 owners have given up flats as they couldn't make payments - but none evicted

By Joyce Teo

SINCE the Housing Board allowed home owners to finance their flats with commercial banks from Jan 1 last year, the board has repossessed five flats.

And just last week, OCBC Bank said it had taken back one HDB flat in the same period. The HDB confirmed it was the only mortgagee sale by a bank since the HDB mortgage market was liberalised.

In that case, the former flat owner had voluntarily returned his keys as he was unable to service his loan.

As for the other five, the HDB said in a statement on Monday that it did not evict anyone because of arrears in loan payments.

It said: 'However, HDB repossessed 5 flats after the ex-lessees and their family members abandoned the flats due to default in loan payments.'

There are around 869,000 HDB flats catering to some 84 per cent of Singapore's resident population of local citizens and permanent residents.

As of March 31 last year, the total amount of outstanding mortgage loans granted by HDB totalled $64 billion.

New HDB flat loans offered by commercial banks reached $2.9 billion by the end of last year while refinanced HDB flat loans totalled $1.6 billion or 11.7 per cent of HDB's market-rate loans as they stood at end-2002, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

One possible reason that MAS gave in its 2003/2004 annual report for the 'modest' amount of refinancing was 'borrowers' perceptions that banks might be less forbearing with late payments'.

Although the number of households with outstanding mortgage loans has dropped since 2002, the number of households in mortgage arrears of three months or more has risen by almost 15 per cent from 2002 to last year, HDB data showed.

But the chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development, Dr Teo Ho Pin, said he was not overly worried about the number of defaulters on mortgages taken from the HDB as the board is usually flexible in helping them to restructure their debts.

'A lot of these are transitional so the HDB will delay their payments for three to six months,' Dr Teo said.

If home owners still cannot pay up, they can apply to defer payment for another six months. In cases of long-term hardship, HDB would encourage the owner to downgrade, he said.

Nevertheless, 'home owners have the responsibility to pay as the asset belongs to the owner ultimately', he said.

Dr Teo is also not unduly concerned about a possible rise in the number of HDB flat owners defaulting on private bank loans because most first-time flat buyers continue to take loans from HDB, he said.

'What's important is that those who take up private loans must measure the risks of taking them up,' he said.

His advice for those taking up a home loan is to obtain a mortgage amounting to 70 per cent of the flat's purchase price.

Those who have calculated right up to their last dollar to pay for a new HDB flat but have yet to fulfil the five-year minimum occupational period before they can sell would be in a fix if they can't pay the mortgage, can't sell the flat and can't find a job, said Dr Teo.

At the end of the day, the idea is to 'live within your means and be a little bit conservative as property prices and interest rates do fluctuate quite suddenly', he said, especially since job security is, in today's context, more difficult to ascertain.
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Old 26-08-2004, 08:41 AM   #354
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AUG 26, 2004
THE UNMARRIED
Big home grant to nudge older singles towards altar
THE push to get older singles hitched went one step further yesterday when the Government announced that they will get a bigger housing grant when they marry.

They can get an additional $19,000 for their current Housing Board flat or if they buy another resale flat. But their spouse must be Singaporean or a permanent resident.

And if their flat is within the same estate or 2km of their parents' homes, they can get up to $29,000 more.

The amount can go towards paying their existing housing loan or to buy another resale flat.

This was the only measure in the baby package announced yesterday which was targeted at singles to nudge them towards marriage.

------------------------------------------------------

TOP-UP HDB grant for singles who marry

Previously: Singles above 35 who bought HDB flats can get grant of $11,000. They cannot get additional grants if they marry and buy resale flats.

Now: Can get a top-up to the Family Grant if spouse is Singaporean or PR.

Amount:
- $19,000

- $29,000 if existing flat or new resale flat is near parents' homes.

Amount can go towards paying outstanding housing loan of current flat or purchase of another resale flat.

-------------------------------------------------------


Mr Lim Hng Kiang, chairman of the steering group on population, noted that there was a sizeable number of singles, and measures are needed to persuade more to take the plunge.

'Whenever we do surveys on marriage, we find that a vast majority of Singaporeans still believe in marriage and still want to look for a lifelong partner, but the reality is different,' he said.

'So there's a disconnect between our survey findings and reality. What we are trying to do is change the conditions so that people can achieve what they say they desire.'

Currently, singles who are 35 years and above are able to buy resale HDB flats in certain areas, and they will get a Singles Grant of $11,000. They are not entitled to more housing grants.

But under the new scheme, singles who marry are eligible to top up to the Family Grant.

Will this entice singles to marry?

Engineer Evan Yap, 42, a single who bought a three-room HDB flat in Ang Mo Kio a few years ago, doesn't think so.

'For me, its about meeting the right woman and not about financial incentives,' he said.

Miss Penny Low, the 37-year-old Member of Parliament who is single, also felt that money will not be the sole motivation for marriage.

'I don't think that it will have a very huge impact on persuading singles to decide to marry if they never entertained such thoughts,' she said.

'But it could be a good encouragement for those who are dating and are already contemplating marriage.'

She added that even though she feels marriage is a personal decision, she hopes the Government will pay more attention on singles.

Last edited by jq75; 26-08-2004 at 08:48 AM..
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Old 29-08-2004, 07:47 PM   #355
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Singles will be able to buy HDB flats of any size in resale market: PM Lee

SINGAPORE: In a significant change, singles will now be allowed to buy bigger HDB flats on the resale market, and not be restricted to 3-roomers.

This was announced by new Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at his first community walkabout after taking office.

Mr Lee received a warm welcome from Boon Lay residents on Sunday, mirroring the reception to many of the ideas and changes introduced at his recent National Day Rally speech.

But Mr Lee stressed while he did not manage to speak then about some groups - like singles - they should not feel left out.

Mr Lee said: "I talked a lot about babies and therefore, families but I think, therefore I did not talk a lot about singles and a lot of the singles have been saying 'what about us - we are Singaporeans too...I think they are right - whether you are single, whether you are married, we are all Singaporeans together and we should be part of this family."

And so, singles issues were also addressed.

One bone of contention - the fact that they are restricted to buying 3-room resale flats only.

That will now change - singles can now buy bigger HDB flats - from 4-rooms to 5-rooms and bigger.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr Lee said that while this is a significant change, adjustments in this area had already been incremental over the years.

Mr Lee said: "We have had some restrictions in the past and we have gradually been adjusting them. Our starting point is that HDB flats are for families and households.

"We originally allowed singles to buy flats if two of them paired up and were aged above 35 years. Some years ago, we allowed them to buy 3-room flats but only in certain areas; so not in the city centre and last year, we changed the rules further and singles can buy 3-room flats anywhere.

"And this year we have gone further and said you can buy 4-room, 5-room or bigger flats anywhere on the resale market. We adjust incrementally. This is a significant step forward. You can ask Mr Mah more questions but as I have said before, no policy is set in stone and we make changes as circumstances change."

The National Development Ministry will give details of the shift on Tuesday. - CNA
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Old 30-08-2004, 08:57 AM   #356
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Fm TODAY, Monday • August 30, 2004

PM Lee: Singles can now buy bigger HDB flats


Derrick A Paulo
derrick@newstoday.com.sg

THEY often say they feel marginalised by the Government.

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong handed out the goodies at the Aug 22 National Day Rally, some among this group felt left out once again.

But yesterday, he pulled a belated surprise out of the bag for single Singaporeans.

"You can buy four-room, five-room or bigger flats — anywhere — on the resale market," he announced at Boon Lay during his first constituency visit as PM.

Until now, only singles who team up to buy a flat are free to choose their preferred unit size and location. Otherwise, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) restricts accommodation for singles to three-room flats.

"I think this is a grievance. And they have a point, because if they want to buy a flat that is available, why should we stop them?" said Mr Lee.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan will announce details of the scheme tomorrow, including whether the age ruling of 35 years will be lowered.

This is the latest in incremental adjustments to housing arrangements for singles, less favoured than families by such policies.

It was in 1991 that singles aged 35 and above were first allowed to be part of Singapore's public home ownership programme.

In 1998, the HDB extended the CPF Housing Grant Scheme — albeit on a smaller scale — to singles. But joint singles were disallowed from buying new flats directly from the board.

And in 2001, the HDB opened up the central areas for singles to buy three-room flats.

As they did then, singles welcomed yesterday's announcement.

"I think it's pretty wonderful news for any single guy who wants to live on his own," said Mr Soon Fee Moi, 38. "It's easier to start a relationship if you have your own place."

Others were less excited.

"It's coming a bit late, isn't it? I suppose it depends on whether you're a young single or an old single," said Ms Angie Lim, 48.

Asked if the policy change felt like an attitude turnaround in the Government, she said: "I guess if they want the singles' vote, they don't have a choice."

Yesterday's announcement came on the heels of last week's pro-family package, which allowed singles looking after elderly parents to enjoy the lower maid levy.

Singles make up about one-third of the resident population here aged 15 years and above. The growing numbers of cash-rich singles means they have a significant impact on the housing market.

"HDB owners planning to sell their flats will benefit. This will be an added boost to the demand for HDB resale units," said Chesterton International director of research and consultancy, Nicholas Mak.

In the past, the HDB had resisted lifting the three-room flat restriction, saying it ensured an optimum use of land in "land-scarce" Singapore. But Mr Lee did not think there would be a problem of singles competing with families for bigger flats.

"In fact, it's the three-room flat prices that have been tending to go up over the last year or two. So, I don't expect to see any basic problems there," he said.

Reports in recent months have put the number of surplus HDB flats at 10,000 — most of them five-room and executive units.

However, 30-something single Kelvin Leong thought singles might not need bigger flats as they would be harder to maintain. And, Mr Soon's concern was that singles may rush into buying a bigger flat than they can afford.

Besides singles, Mr Lee also covered two other groups that he did not have time to mention during his rally speech: Indians and Eurasians.

He praised Indian self-help group Sinda as an example of active citizenry and described the Eurasian community as a strong and vibrant one. Although there has not been a Eurasian Member of Parliament since 1988, PM Lee hinted that might change soon.

"When we look for new candidates to be MPs for the PAP, we are looking hard for Eurasians," he said. "Meanwhile, we have nominated MPs being invited and I hope there will be Eurasians who will put themselves forward."

He also announced that Parliament would be prorogued — discontinued without being dissolved — in December.

President SR Nathan will reopen Parliament in January and lay out the policy and new direction of the Government. The ministries will also set out their priorities for debate.

Could this mean early elections? Mr Lee pointed out that the Government had prorogued Parliament mid-term in its last two terms.

"It's timely — we have a new Cabinet, new Government — that we have a new beginning," he said. "If we were going to call elections, then there's no need to prorogue Parliament."

He would not say, however, if the PAP would wait till 2007 before calling for elections.
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Old 30-08-2004, 10:57 PM   #357
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HDB Launches 3-room & 4-room Build-to-Order (BTO) Flats at Sengkang

HDB Launches 3-room & 4-room Build-to-Order (BTO) Flats at Sengkang

HDB is launching a new housing project at Sengkang town under the BTO System. The new project, Fernvale Grove, consists of 508 Standard flats - 156 units of 3-room flats and 352 units of 4-room flats. Applications for the new flats can be submitted from 30 Aug 2004 to 19 Sep 2004.

2Fernvale Grove is strategically located along Fernvale Road, right next to the Fernvale LRT Station. The Land Transport Authority has indicated that the Sengkang LRT West Loop is expected to be opened for passenger service by the time HDB completes the construction of the flats at Fernvale Grove. Residents would then be efficiently and conveniently connected to the Sengkang Town Centre where a host of commercial facilities and other amenities are available.

3Closer to Fernvale Grove, there is also a proposed commercial/residential development at the junction of Fernvale Road and Sengkang West Avenue. When developed, this facility will serve the daily shopping needs of residents in the western part of Sengkang Town.

Sale of 3-room Flats under the BTO System

4This is the first time that 3-room flats are offered for sale in a BTO project. Households with a monthly income of $3,000 and below are eligible to apply for these flats. Other eligibility conditions on citizenship, family nucleus and non-ownership of private residential property apply. At the time of flat selection, 3-room flat applicants need to pay a booking fee of $1,000. The eligibility conditions and booking fees for the purchase of new 4-room flats remain unchanged.

Modified Optional Component Scheme (OCS)

5The flats in Fernvale Grove are of Standard design and therefore do not come with floor finishes to the living/dining areas and bedrooms. In response to feedback from previous buyers of Standard flats, henceforth, all buyers of Standard flats offered under the BTO, including those in Fernvale Grove, will be able to opt for ceramic floor tiles to be provided in their flats, in addition to the existing option for internal timber doors. For those who opt for these floor finishes and doors, the price of these components will be included in the selling price of the flat. This will lessen the cash outlay needed for renovation works.

6The revised OCS for basic flooring and internal doors will also be offered to all lessees whose flats were announced under the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) from 16 Jul 2004 onwards, when they book their flats at the designated new replacement sites. More details on the revised OCS and costs of the optional packages are found in Annex 1.

Revision to the Third Child Priority (TCP) Scheme

7Currently, an owner of an existing HDB flat has to upgrade to a bigger HDB flat if he wants to be considered for priority allocation under the TCP Scheme. However, HDB recognises that not all families with three children may wish to buy a bigger flat. Some may wish to purchase a similar-sized or smaller flat, to move closer to their parents' home or their children's schools, or to reprioritise their finances. In support of the Government's procreation policy, HDB will lift the upgrading condition for existing flat owners to be considered for priority under the TCP scheme, with effect from this BTO exercise. All other conditions of the TCP scheme remain unchanged.

Fernvale Grove Exhibition

8Interested buyers can get more information about Fernvale Grove by visiting HDB's showroom, Habitat Forum (Biz Four, 3rd storey, HDB Hub) to collect the sales brochures and view an Exhibition, featuring 3D models, perspectives, and samples of the finishes as well as other useful information on the project. Information on the flats for sale, indicative price ranges, and the BTO exhibition can be found in Annex 2, and details of the application procedures in Annex 3.

9HDB has collaborated with SBSTransit to provide an exclusive preview of the western loop of Sengkang LRT to interested flat buyers over the weekend of 4 and 5 Sep 2004, 10am to 5pm. The free LRT ride will take passengers on a one-loop trip to see the western part of Sengkang and the Fernvale Grove site.

10This BTO launch is also advertised in the local papers today. Interested buyers can log on to e-Sales at www.hdb.gov.sg or tune in to Teletext (Channel News Asia, Pg 670).

Enquiries

11For further enquiries, please:

·email hdbsales@hdb.gov.sg

·call the Sales/Resale Customer Service Line at 1800-866-3066

·visit the HDB Sales Office at Atrium 1st Storey, HDB Hub Toa Payoh or Habitat Forum (Biz Four, 3rd Storey) at HDB Hub to speak with our customer service officers.






Annex 1

(A) MODIFIED OPTIONAL COMPONENT SCHEME (OCS)

1Currently, HDB offers two main categories of flats for sale, namely, "Premium Apartments" and "Standard flats". Premium Apartments come with special design attributes and full finishes while Standard flats are provided with minimal finishes to meet the needs of buyers who prefer to have their own choice of finishes. Buyers of either category of flats are given the choice to opt out and not have internal doors installed in their flats under the OCS. A price rebate will be given if the buyers opt not to have the internal doors.

2From time to time, some buyers have indicated to HDB their preference for basic finishes to be provided in the Standard flats to help ease their cash outlay required for doing up their flats. In response to the feedback, HDB will include ceramic floor tiles in the living/dining room and bedrooms as an optional component under the OCS for all new flats in Standard contracts launched under the BTO System starting from Fernvale Grove. Applicants can opt in for the basic flooring at the time they book the flat. To avoid any confusion over the option system under the existing OCS, internal doors will also be offered on an opt-in instead of opt-out basis with immediate effect. Essentially, applicants will have the following choices at the time they book their flats:

(a)opt-in for both the internal doors and the basic flooring,

(b)opt-in for the internal doors only,

(c)opt-in for the basic flooring only, or

(d)do not opt-in for the internal doors and basic flooring.

3The revised OCS for internal doors and basic flooring will also be offered to lessees whose flats are announced under the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) from 16 Jul 04 when they book their flats at the designated replacement sites later.

4For Premium Apartments to be launched under the BTO System in future, applicants will also be given the choice to opt in for the internal doors under the OCS.

(B) INFORMATION ON OPTIONAL COMPONENTS

Optional
Component Estimated Cost
3-room 4-room

Flooring for living / dining room and bedrooms $2,700 $3,800
Internal doors $1,400 $1,700
Notes:

1.The living/dining room and bedrooms will be provided with ceramic tile flooring. Where the household shelter opens into the living/dining room, it will also be provided with ceramic tile flooring.
2.A 3-room flat will be installed with 4 internal doors and a 4-room flat with 5 internal doors.








Annex 2

A) INFORMATION ON FLATS AT FERNVALE GROVE

Fernvale Grove is located along Fernvale Road, and right next to the Fernvale LRT Station. The map showing the new BTO site is attached:


Housing Development
(Contract) Type Floor
Area
(sqm) Internal Floor Area (sqm) No. of Units Indicative Price Range
($)
Fernvale Grove
(Sengkang N4 C14) 3-room 69 - 70 65 – 66 156 89,000 – 110,000
4-room 96 90 352 129,000 – 162,000


Note:

1. Floor area refers to the estimated area of the whole apartment inclusive of the area of the air-conditioner ledge and bay window (where applicable).

2. Internal floor area refers to the estimated area of the apartment computed based on the centre line of the apartment wall.

3.The indicative prices do not include the cost of optional components.

4. After the close of the application period, HDB will assess whether to proceed with the shortlisting and booking of the flat. Similarly, after the booking exercise, HDB will assess the take-up rate before deciding whether to proceed to build the flats.


B) INFORMATION ON BTO EXHIBITION

Location : HDB Habitat Forum (BizFour, 3rd Storey, HDB Hub)
Exhibition period : 30 Aug 04 to 19 Sep 04

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8 am to 5 pm

Saturday - 8 am to 1 pm

Sunday & Public Holidays – Closed






Annex 3

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Submission Of Application

1Applications can be submitted either electronically or manually using the prescribed application form within the application period from 30 Aug 04 till 19 Sep 04.

Online Application
To submit applications electronically, applicants can simply log on to HDB InfoWEB "e-sales" at www.hdb@gov.sg and follow the simple steps. A non-refundable administration fee of $10 is payable for electronic submission.

Manual Application
Application forms and coupons for the non-refundable $20 administratiion fee are available at the HDB Hub (Sales Reception Counter and Payment Office located at the Atrium, 1st Storey, or the Habitat Forum at BizFour, 3rd Storey), HDB Branch Offices or Singapore Post branches.

Completed application forms affixed with the coupon can be submitted personally at the Sales Registration Counter located at the Atrium, 1st Storey Sales Office, and Habitat Forum in HDB Hub during the office hours. Alternatively, they can be sent by post, or deposited in the drop-box provided at the Sales Office, Atrium, 1st Storey (near the Drop-Off Point), HDB Hub.

2Applicants must indicate the flat-type that they are applying to purchase, i.e. either a 3-room or a 4-room flat. Applicants who wish to purchase a 3-room flat, their gross monthly household income must not exceed $3,000. The income ceiling for applicants applying for a 4-room flat is still $8,000 per month.

Priority Schemes

3At the time of application, applicants can request for priority allocation if they meet the prescribed conditions under the following schemes:

(a) Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS);

(b) Third Child Priority (TCP) Scheme;

(c) Grassroots Organisation (GRO) members; or

(d) Families affected by Relocation (REN)/Resettlement (RH) Schemes.

4First-timer applicants will also be accorded twice the success weightage over the second-timers in recognition of their more urgent need for housing. Applicants who qualify under the MCPS will also be given twice the success weightage over non-MCPS applicants. 5% of the flat supply will be set aside for each of the other priority schemes, viz. GRO members, TCP Scheme and REN/RH Scheme.

Shortlisting Exercise

5After the close of the application period, HDB will assess the number of applications received before deciding whether to proceed with the shortlisting of applicants for the booking of flats.

6If HDB decides to proceed with the shortlisting exercise, a computer ballot will be conducted to determine the queue positions of the eligible applicants. HDB will shortlist applicants up to a maximum of 2 times the flat supply to book a flat. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their applications around mid-Oct 04.

Booking of Flats

7Shortlisted applicants can expect to book a flat around Nov 04. The booking fee for the new 3-room flat is $1,000 while the booking fee for the 4-room flat remains at $2,000. This booking fee is payable at the time of booking and may be paid by cash/cheque/NETS.

8Booking of flats by the applicants with queue numbers exceeding the flat supply will be subject to the availability of flats or ethnic quota when their turns are due. They can check the availability of flats from the HDB InfoWeb at www.hdb@gov.sg or from the Teletext before turning up at the HDB Sales Office on the appointed date for the booking. They need not turn up at the Sales Office if their preferred units are no longer available.

9After the booking exercise, HDB will assess the take-up rate before deciding whether to proceed to call the building tender.

Signing The Agreement For Lease

10Once it is confirmed that Fernvale Grove will proceed to be tendered, HDB will arrange for the applicants to sign the Agreement for Lease within 4 months from the date of booking of the flats.

11Applicants have to pay 20% of the selling price of the flat that they have booked as downpayment at the time of signing the Agreement for Lease. First-timer applicants, i.e. married couples or those applying under the Fiance/Fiancee Scheme, can pay the 20% downpayment in 2 instalments under the Staggered Downpayment Scheme (SDS) if at least one of the partners is aged 30 years or younger. The first 10% will be collected when signing the Agreement for Lease and the balance 10% when the buyer takes possession of his new flat.

12If the applicant is taking a bank loan, he will have to pay a 2% cash downpayment to HDB.

13Applicants who do not sign the Agreement for Lease or reject the flat after booking will have their applications cancelled and the booking fee forfeited. If the applicant rejects the flat after signing the Agreement for Lease, the forfeiture will be 5% of the selling price of the flat.



Issued By : Housing & Development Board
Date : 30 Aug 2004
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Old 30-08-2004, 10:59 PM   #358
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Amendments...

Modified Optional Component Scheme (OCS)

5The flats in Fernvale Grove are of Standard design and therefore do not come with floor finishes to the living/dining areas and bedrooms. In response to feedback from previous buyers of Standard flats, henceforth, all buyers of Standard flats offered under the BTO, including those in Fernvale Grove, will be able to opt for ceramic floor tiles to be provided in their flats, in addition to the existing option for internal timber doors. For those who opt for these floor finishes and doors, the price of these components will be included in the selling price of the flat. This will lessen the cash outlay needed for renovation works.

6The revised OCS for basic flooring and internal doors will also be offered to all lessees whose flats were announced under the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) from 16 Jul 2004 onwards, when they book their flats at the designated new replacement sites. More details on the revised OCS and costs of the optional packages are found in Annex 1.

Revision to the Third Child Priority (TCP) Scheme

7Currently, an owner of an existing HDB flat has to upgrade to a bigger HDB flat if he wants to be considered for priority allocation under the TCP Scheme. However, HDB recognises that not all families with three children may wish to buy a bigger flat. Some may wish to purchase a similar-sized or smaller flat, to move closer to their parents' home or their children's schools, or to reprioritise their finances. In support of the Government's procreation policy, HDB will lift the upgrading condition for existing flat owners to be considered for priority under the TCP scheme, with effect from this BTO exercise. All other conditions of the TCP scheme remain unchanged.
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Old 31-08-2004, 08:42 AM   #359
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Fm TODAY, Tuesday • August 31, 2004

Singles court property market

Lifting of buying restrictions likely to benefit prices of 4-room flats; mixed prospects for private property


Val Chua
val@newstoday.com.sg

AT 35, he is in the prime of his life, with a bulging CPF account and no major commitments.

Unlike his conservative married counterparts, he is more willing to splurge on his flat, paying up to 10 per cent more, in preferred areas such as Tanjong Pagar and Marine Parade.

He is also the dream buyer for agents such as Mr James Lee, a senior associate director of ERA, who is eyeing a lucrative market that is about to get bigger.

"Singles splurge a lot and are less fussy. They decide very quickly, especially guys. Couples, well, they've got two minds, so it takes double the time," he said.

The Government will announce details of a HDB policy change today which will allow singles to buy bigger flats from the resale market, addressing the "grievance" that they were once limited to just three-room flats.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced this change over the weekend to the delight of singles. There are around 160,000 single Singapore citizens aged 35 and above.

Property market players welcomed the news, saying it's a boost for the sluggish resale HDB market.

Said Mr Nicholas Mak, a director at Chesterton International: "In the past, they could only choose three-room or private apartments, but now because they have a wider choice, some singles may choose to buy larger HDB flats, especially if it's in a good location."

Four-room flats are likely to benefit the most, as they cost only around $60,000 to $70,000 more than three-room units.

In fact, the singles policy may stabilise the strident rise of three-room flat prices — which have been popular among down-graders in the last year — and give a minor boost to the sluggish sales of the bigger flats.

In the second quarter, prices of three- and four-room flats grew at rates of 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively, while those of five-room and executive flats continued to slide by 0.3 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively.

With the change, analysts said prices for three-room flats may drop by about 3 per cent in the next six months, while four-room flats may rise by 3 to 5 per cent in the same period.

While most analysts agree the liberalisation would lift the public housing market, they have mixed views about the impact on private property, especially lower-end, 99-year condos.

Some see it as dampening this segment of private homes as potential buyers previously eyeing a bigger unit can now migrate to public housing.

"It does nothing to boost the low-end of the private property market — the segment that has been most in the doldrums," OCBC Investment Research said in a report.

But others argue that singles who can afford condominiums are probably in the game for the "lifestyle" factor in the first place, with affordability being a lesser concern.

"A single who can afford a condo lifestyle will still go ahead and buy a condo unit," said Mr Mohamed Ismail, CEO of Propnex, a real estate agency.

Chesterton's Mr Mak said that more buoyant prices for bigger flats might give current HDB dwellers a chance to sell their units and upgrade to condos, if the market sentiment improves.

As the details of the policy changes fall into place today, not everyone is convinced the changes will create a lot of impact, unless more stones are turned, such as reducing the minimum age for singles to buy HDB flats, currently set at 35 years old.

Another wish is for the policy to be extended to singles who are permanent residents here. Said ERA's Mr Lee: "The market needs all the help to lift it up. This is probably the first of many changes to come. For now, this is like rain in the desert." — Additional reporting by Tay Tsen-Waye
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Old 31-08-2004, 08:49 AM   #360
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Fm ST, 31 Aug 2004

Sengkang to get 3-room HDB flats

New units at 70sqm cost up to $110,000 each in build-to-order project; 352 4-room flats will also be constructed

By Joyce Teo

THE Housing Board will build three-room flats in Sengkang, north-east Singapore, after a 19-year hiatus, to cater to popular demand.

A total of 156 flats will be constructed as part of a new build-to-order project called Fernvale Grove, which will also include 352 four-room homes.

The new three-room flats are expected to be about 70 sq m and cost $89,000 to $110,000. Most three-room flats are between 55 sq m and 75 sq m.

The announcement by the HDB yesterday fulfils a promise made by the Government earlier this year that it would resume building these flats in the second half of the year. Three-room flats are popular among HDB home buyers.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan had said the Government would also raise the salary cap of prospective owners from $2,000 per household to $3,000.

The new housing estate is next to a station on the Sengkang LRT West Loop, which the Land Transport Authority said should be running by the time the housing project is completed.

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Michael Lim said: 'Getting the LRT to run is key. With it, Fernvale residents will have access to the town centre and all the facilities available to others living in Sengkang.'

Also in the works are a polyclinic and community centre, which Dr Lim said will open in the town centre by January.

The HDB said the new flats should be completed in four years. Under the build-to-order scheme, the units are put up only if around 70 per cent of them are booked.

Property dealers think there will be a rush for the three-room flats by newly-married couples because of the location, price and the fact that existing ones are old.

Prices of these homes, which have surged in the resale market in the past two years because of strong demand from singles and downgraders, hit a new average valuation peak of $166,000.

Mr Mohamed Ismail, the chief executive of real estate firm PropNex, which has 40 per cent of the HDB resale market business, said: 'It's a big help that the flats are near the LRT.'

The Sengkang project will be the first where buyers of standard no-frills flats can opt for ceramic floor tiles, besides internal timber doors, although they cannot choose the colour or design.

Those applying for homes in this project under the Third Child Priority Scheme need not be existing owners of smaller flats. Previously, only those upgrading to a bigger flat could qualify for priority under the scheme.

The HDB is holding an exhibition of flat models, samples of floor finishes and other information on the project at Habitat Forum in HDB Hub, Toa Payoh.

It has also collaborated with the Sengkang LRT operator, SBS Transit, to provide potential buyers with a preview of the western loop of the Sengkang LRT line on Sept 4 and Sept 5.

Applications for the new three- and four-room flats opened yesterday and close on Sept 19.

As at 3pm yesterday, three people had applied for the three-room flats and 30 for the four-room flats.

For further information, visit www.hdb.gov.sg or call 1800-866-3066.


---------------------------------------------


KEY CHANGES:


-First batch of three-room flats since 1985 to come up in Fernvale Grove in Sengkang.


-Buyers in the build-to-order scheme can opt for ceramic floor tiles for their three- and four-room flats from this development onwards.


-Those who apply under the Third Child Priority Scheme no longer have to fulfil the upgrading criteria, where they had to move to a bigger flat to qualify for priority.
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