Sunday, October 16, 2011

Strong interest in DBSS project

MORE than 200 potential buyers have lodged applications for a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project that was launched yesterday.

The showflat for the 488-unit Belvia in Bedok Reservoir Road attracted as many as 300 people when it opened, reflecting the continued popularity of the DBSS homes.

Balloting will commence once the online applications close on Tuesday.

Belvia comprises three-, four- and five-room units selling for around $570 per square foot. This works out to about $395,000 on average for a three-room flat of 720 sq ft, $525,000 for a four-room unit measuring 936 sq ft and $670,000 for a 1,130 sq ft five-room flat.

Some showroom visitors felt the prices were a bit high, especially as the rooms were smaller than those in older flats in the neighbourhood.

But others said the values were reasonable given the project came with condo-like fittings such as kitchen and bathroom fixtures and air-conditioning units.

First-time buyer Chris King, 27, an IT consultant, said the location was the most important factor.

'I've lived in the Bedok neighbourhood for almost 20 years. The fact that this development is near my parents' place is a selling point for me. If not for the location, my wife and I would have gone for a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat instead,' he said.

Belvia is the first DBSS project to be put up for sale since revisions were made to the public housing income ceiling.

Buyers earning up to $10,000 a month can now choose between BTO and DBSS flats.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research at SLP International, noted: 'If a DBSS flat is priced very much higher than a BTO flat, and if that DBSS project doesn't have very unique or distinctive features, then buyers who qualify for both might opt for the more basic BTO flats, which are more affordable.'

Belvia is also the first DBSS project to be built in Bedok and the first to be launched after the Government said in July that it would review the scheme after a public outcry erupted over prices at Centrale 8, Sim Lian's project in Tampines.

But the possibility that the DBSS flats could be scrapped may encourage buyers to choose them, said Mr Steven Tan, executive director of residential at OrangeTee. 'They feel such homes may be limited in supply and therefore a better choice if the Government does away with the scheme.'

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