First BTO project in Dover Forest to be launched in November; 1,330 flats up for sale

The upcoming BTO project, which is within walking distance to Dover MRT station, sits in the eastern half of the forest. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE – The first public housing site in Dover Forest will be launched in the next Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercise in November, with around 1,330 three-room and four-room flats up for sale.

The upcoming BTO project, which is within walking distance to Dover MRT station on the East-West line, sits in the eastern half of the forest.

The western half is set aside for the time being to preserve its biodiversity.

Plans for the 33ha Dover Forest – almost eight times the size of the Padang – in the mature estate of Queenstown were revised last year, following an outcry from nature groups.

The Housing Board had originally intended to launch the entire land parcel for public housing, citing pressing needs for public housing in the near term.

However, the plan was reviewed and revised after feedback from members of the public and the findings of two separate scientific studies.

About 11ha in the eastern half will be developed for public housing projects.

The development of the area will be done sensitively and also feature 5ha of greenery, including a park with a natural stream.

HDB said the western half of the site will be relooked at in about a decade.

The last BTO project in the area was in November 2012.

Then, 1,179 studio apartments, three-room and four-room flats across five blocks were launched on a site along Ghim Moh Link.

At least one four-room flat in the project has since changed hands for at least $1 million.

Analysts interviewed are split about whether the upcoming BTO site in Dover Forest will fall under the prime location public housing (PLH) model, which comes with a subsidy clawback clause and a longer 10-year minimum occupation period.

Mr Mohan Sandrasegeran, senior analyst for research and content creation at One Global Group, said so far, the six PLH projects launched appear to have taken into consideration the site’s proximity to an MRT station and are within estates that have million-dollar HDB resale transactions.

“The advantageous location of the site being near Dover MRT station and being in Queenstown might have checked these boxes to be considered under the PLH model,” he said.

But OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun noted that the Dover Forest site is more than double the distance away from Raffles Place, compared with previously launched PLH projects.

This makes it unlikely for it to be considered under the PLH model, unless HDB decides to push the boundaries even further from the city centre, she said.

HDB typically only announces whether a BTO project falls under the PLH model on the launch day.

In the ongoing BTO sales exercise, two projects in Bukit Merah near Redhill and Tiong Bahru MRT stations fall under the PLH model.

If the flats fall under the PLH model, prices for a four-room flat could range around $550,000 to $700,000, similar to the PLH projects in Bukit Merah and Queenstown, said Ms Sun.

Both analysts also expect stiff competition for the project when it is launched as application rates at mature estates have increased over the years.

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