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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Not more than $500k

By Joyce Teo, Property Correspondent

THE tightening property market and demand for smaller homes have created a dilemma for the HDB's design, build and sell scheme (DBSS) - price flats over $500,000 and buyers could stay away.
That price point has been cited as the 'resistance level' for home seekers with less cash to spend but a wealth of options in a buyer's market.

Experts said DBSS homes - public flats designed, built and sold by private developers - are sandwiched in a fast- narrowing price gap between private condominiums and HDB flats.

To move units, these condo-style homes will have to be priced at about $500,000 or less - under an equivalent- sized flat in a private condo - but that may erode any profits for the developers.

'These are the same people who will buy your resale HDB flat,' said Knight Frank director Nicholas Mak.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail agreed: 'The resistance level of HDB buyers is around the $500,000 level. If they are going to be priced above $450 per sq ft (psf), they may face resistance.

'Buyers may head for the private market where they can get better value for $500 psf to just below $600 psf.'

Mass-market condos that offer full facilities, such as Rosewood Suites in Woodlands and Caspian in Jurong, have units in that price range. Developers have lowered their prices of some mass-market projects by 20 to 25 per cent while HDB resale prices are also falling, though at a slower pace.

Two DBSS projects are expected to be released for sale this month. The first is a 1,203-unit project in Toa Payoh with three-, four- and five-room flats.

And Parc Lumiere in Simei will have 360 units - 120 four-room and 240 five- room flats. A Hoi Hup-led consortium won the tender for the Toa Payoh site at about $160 psf per plot ratio last August, while Sim Lian won the Simei site at $137 psf last June.

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