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White flats might see reduced resale interest, expert warns

The government will introduce the white flats in its October BTO.

The “white flats” the government will introduce in its October Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise will likely attract young couples who desire more flexibility to plan their own space, Christine Sun, chief researcher and strategist at OrangeTee, said.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee explained that the new typology of HDB flats will be beamless and not pre-partitioned into rooms by walls.

“We will be starting with a BTO project in the Kallang-Whampoa area, where we will be launching over 300 units of such 3- and 4-room flats, with this option available for a group of home buyers,” Lee said.

Sun said the White Flats may benefit couples, or even families, who wish to create new design layouts such as making their master bedroom larger, 

“Some may choose to include a workspace to create a home office or make an entertainment space or home theatre room for relaxation,” Sun added.

Sun, however, pointed out that many Singaporeans might avoid the hassle of designing their layouts or might not know which designs meet their needs, as they are used to the prefabricated options offered by HDB or developers.
“They may also incur extra costs by building new walls and partitions,” Sun added.

Sun added that if owners opt to sell their units in the future, they may face a smaller pool of buyers “because of the need to accept these new layout plans.”

“Future buyers may also request the owner to reinstate the walls or remove certain partitions. Some homeowners may not plan enough space for future needs, such as creating a living room or master bedroom that is too large,” Sun said.

“Later on, they may find that they lack an extra bedroom when their children grow up and want their room,” Sun added.

In terms of price, Sun sees no “significant” difference between regular flats and white flats.

“About half of the layout is the same, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, structural walls, and main piping, where most costs are involved. The main difference lies in the non-structural or partition walls, which are not as expensive,” Sun said.

“The price difference probably also accounts that owners of white flats have to incur extra costs to build their partition walls, wiring of TV points, etcetera,” Sun added.
 

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