The Straits Times
Friday, Oct 19, 2012
THE fast-growing area of Punggol could end up with a greater proportion of private homes than in other parts of the country.
Private units average about 18 per cent of the housing mix across the country but one expert tips that it could go as high as 25 per cent in Punggol "as aspirations of people grow".
PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said this would work out to about 24,000 private units given that Punggol is expected to host around 96,000 homes eventually.
The 6,400 private dwellings there now - all uncompleted - will make up about 13 per cent of all units in the area by 2016, when about 48,000 homes will have been completed.
Last night, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan told an audience that Punggol will eventually have "nearly 100,000" public and private homes, up from the around 26,000 completed public housing ones now.
Besides the private and executive condos that are either newly launched or under construction, there are also just over 100 landed completed homes in Punggol as of the second quarter, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
But it did not say how many more private homes will be added to the mix eventually.
While most property experts were undecided on which plots will be used for private housing, Mr Ismail said they are likely to be near the MRT station or amenities as buyers will be paying a "premium" over public homes.
But all the new homes could add stress to the infrastructure in the area, said Mr Lee Sze Teck, Dennis Wee Group's senior manager of training, research and consultancy.
"Higher than estimated number of residential homes means added stress on the transportation network," he noted, adding that the nearby expressways and the North-East MRT Line "are already pushing the max capacity during peak hours".
Savills' research head Alan Cheong said it is this sustainability issue that will set the area apart from suburbs like Pasir Ris, Tampines and Jurong East.
"How well a town can sustain so many homes will depend greatly on how efficient the public transportation will be," he noted.
"When the population packs in and the density of the island increases, even a slight reduction in transportation time or reduced MRT cabin congestion may amplify itself favourably through the price mechanism."
Still, consultants said the "waterfront living lifestyle" Punggol offers should prove a draw.
"This concept... coupled with newer and better designed flats in Punggol, might lead to higher cash over valuation (COV) being asked by sellers," Mr Lee said.
PropNex's Mr Ismail added: "It's too early to say but the future generation might like living here... This estate will be much newer than say, Tampines."
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