Just next door, but Centrale 8 costs so much more
DBSS development launches at twice the price of previous project
By: Carolyn Quek
THE two developments sit side by side in Tampines Central, are both built under the Housing Board's Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), and developed by the same company.
Yet Centrale 8 has launched at about double the price fetched by The Premiere four years ago.
The launch price for a five-room flat at The Premiere was between $308,000 and $450,000 in 2006.
Prices for a five-room flat at Centrale 8 were between $685,000 and $880,000 when the showflat was opened to buyers on Thursday last week.
This has led to some interested buyers baulking at the asking price of what are set to be Singapore's most expensive HDB flats.
A spokesman for the developer Sim Lian said over 18,000 people visited the showroom in the last four days.
Cable engineer Suhaimi Samsudin, 30, is reconsidering his decision to buy a unit at Centrale 8, even though his parents live nearby.
'The flats are a bit small and the prices are steep. If I were to buy a second-hand flat, I don't think I would have to pay this much.'
His wife Mariani Mohamed Ismail, a 26-year-old flight attendant, added: 'For this price, we can actually get a condo and with facilities.'
The high launch price of Centrale 8's flats has fuelled strong reactions from property buyers and players, who say that it might push up prices.
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in his blog on Saturday that DBSS flats should not be compared with Housing Board flats. He said that if home buyers find them too pricey, they can choose to give them a miss.
DBSS flats are public housing units designed and built by private developers and they come with more features such as better flooring, built-in wardrobes and air-conditioning.
About a quarter of the 708 units at Centrale 8 are five-room flats. At 108 and 109 sq m, they are slightly smaller than the five-room flats at The Premiere.
About half of the units at Centrale 8 are four-room flats, and the most expensive one costs $683,000 - about 65 per cent more than the costliest four-room flat at The Premiere.
Property agents familiar with the Tampines estate noted that resale prices for HDB flats in the area have not increased by more than 40 per cent in the past 41/2 years.
Mr Sam Lee, an associate marketing director with PropNex, said a 150 sq m HDB executive apartment in Tampines, which can fetch $620,000 on the resale market today, would have cost about $500,000 in 2006.
But developer Sim Lian, which paid $261 psf per plot ratio (ppr) for the 21,132 sq ft Centrale 8 site, said that the prices for Centrale 8 were only 'indicative' and not reflective of the final selling price.
A spokesman said: 'The final selling prices for The Premiere were lower than their indicative prices and Centrale 8 is likely to follow suit.'
She added that market conditions have changed since 2006 when The Premiere was launched.
'Construction, raw materials and labour costs have gone up over the last few years,' she said.
The spokesman also noted that more amenities have been planned for Tampines town since 2006, such as the New Integrated Lifestyle Hub, Tampines Eco Green Park, and the Tampines MRT interchange for the Downtown Line.
Property experts also noted these points as reasons for the difference in prices between the two DBSS developments.
PropNex corporate communications manager Adam Tan said: 'The property price index back in October 2006 was relatively low, it hadn't hit the high of 2007 yet, so projects that were launched around that time would have been priced at a relatively low level. But the index now is at an all-time high.'
He added that Tampines is now more developed in terms of infrastructure and that would have contributed to the price hike.
Even so, he said he was surprised by the asking prices for Centrale 8: 'Indicative price range or not, it is still very pricey for a new flat.'
The 708 units are expected to be built by 2014.
Residents at The Premiere, however, are cheering as they are likely to benefit from the high selling prices of the neighbouring flats.
Technician Sulaiman Mohamed Rian, 38, who bought his five-room flat at The Premiere for about $350,000 and went to check out the new development, said: 'The design and fittings at Centrale 8 are similar but the price is ridiculous.'
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