Showflats to show fact, not fiction, come May

Showflats to show fact, not fiction, come May

The days of "artificially" enlarged showflats decked up with made- to-measure furnishings are numbered, following changes to the Housing Developers Rules (HDR) yesterday.
Developers will now need to provide drawn- to-scale location plans and a breakdown of a unit's floor area by its various components - comprising bedrooms, balconies and bay windows - to help buyers better visualise the amount of usable space.

In addition, developers will also need to obtain a buyer's consent for any alterations to the layout of a property (such as changes in the location of facilities) and offer more information on the project before the option-to-purchase is issued.

Shoebox units have become increasingly popular and there are concerns about whether buyers - who predominantly hold HDB addresses - truly understand how small these units really are.

It is widely known that many of such showflats do not demarcate the living space, planter and balcony area clearly, giving an inaccurate impression of a unit's actual size.

Developers are also unlikely to build showflats for all the different unit types in a development as it would not be practical. Hence, much is left to the imagination of buyers.

Still, most consultants do not expect demand for shoebox units to take a big hit following these measures. Smaller units remain sought after as they are affordable - being priced around the $1 million mark - amid a low-interest-rate environment. A huge number of them will be rolled out over the next few years.

Other changes that will take effect come mid-May include the need for developers to offer buyers details on their past projects in Singapore, prior to the issuance of the option-to-purchase.

The amendments to the HDR will apply to sales of all private residential properties with effect from May 18, regardless of the launch date of the project.

URA noted that some of the changes proposed previously, such as directions on setting up showflats, will require amendments to the Housing Developers (Control & Licensing) Act and will be implemented only in the later half of this year.

Source: Business Times – 19 April 2012