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HDB pilots new open concept 'white flats' in October BTO exercise

Artist's impression of an HDB white flate (Picture: HDB)

HDB will pilot a new open concept layout in the October Built-To-Order (BTO) exercise, announced Desmond Lee, Minister of National Development, at a speech on May 27.

Unlike existing flats, these "white flats" will have contiguous living and bedroom space without beams or partition walls. The first series of such white flats will be offered at the Kallang-Whampoa BTO project, with 310 three- and four-room units.

According to the HDB, the non-provision of internal partition walls for such white flats will be factored into the pricing. Homebuyers may opt into the new layout when they are invited to book their flat.

Read also: Up to 20,000 new homes to be built in Bukit Timah Turf City

"It allows the layout of the HDB flat to be customised and re-configured as household needs change," comments Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Singapore.

For instance, four-room flats today have three bedrooms. Young couples with no children yet may not need all three bedrooms now. A white flat allows them to partition the space with furniture or glass partitions. In the future, when they have children, the space can be repurposed, and the bedrooms added, adds Lim.

Artist's impression of a contiguous living and bedroom space of a white flat (Picture: HDB)

He points out that those who want to renovate their new flat could also see cost savings as they won't need to demolish walls, unlike those buying the standard HDB flats.

Christine Sun, chief researcher & strategist at OrangeTee Group, points out that such "white plan" concepts that give homebuyers the option to customise the layout of their units were available only in luxury private homes before.

An example is Far East Organization's Inessence brand of ultra-luxury residences, such as Alba, Boulevard Vue and Skyline @ Orchard Boulevard in the prime districts of Orchard Road. The "white plan" concept allowed buyers to personalise their units.

"Public housing flats that come with the white plan can be a novelty for some buyers", says Sun.

However, she adds that the new layout may have a potential drawback when selling the unit in the future as it may appeal to a smaller pool of buyers.

Read also: HDB launches resale flat listing portal for owners

Despite this, Sun predicts that any potential price difference would not be significant as the construction of non-structural walls is less expensive.

Check out the latest listings for HDB properties

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