HDB launches 6,800 BTO flats, with tighter rules for applicants who reject offer to book units
SINGAPORE - The Housing Board on Wednesday launched 6,800 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats for sale across eight projects in Choa Chu Kang, Kallang/Whampoa, Queenstown and Tengah.
Two of the projects, in Kallang/Whampoa and Queenstown, fall under the prime location public housing (PLH) model, which comes with stricter buying and selling conditions, including a 6 per cent subsidy clawback upon resale.
Six of the eight projects have a waiting time of four years or less, HDB said in a statement. Plantation Edge I and II in Tengah and Rail Green I @ CCK in Choa Chu Kang have the shortest wait times, ranging from three years to three years and four months.
Under new rules that kick in from this exercise, applicants of BTO and Sale of Balance flats who get a queue position falling within the flat supply cannot apply for a flat in later exercises until after their booking appointment.
HDB issues three times more queue numbers than the flat supply, in anticipation of applicants dropping out during the flat selection process.
The tightened rule means applicants for the October launch, whose queue position is within the flat supply, cannot apply for a flat in the December exercise.
“This will ensure that we do not crowd out other BTO applicants who have not secured a queue position and improve their chances at securing a flat,” HDB said.
Furthermore, those who do not select a BTO flat when invited will have their existing applications for later exercises cancelled, HDB added.
This means those who are able to apply for both the October and December launches, and do not book a flat when invited during the October launch, will have their December application cancelled.
These applicants can continue applying for future exercises but will be subject to stricter rules announced earlier. For instance, first-timer applicants who do not select a BTO flat when invited will be considered second-timers – with fewer ballot chances – in subsequent flat applications for a year.
HDB will waive this new rule only if applicants have 10 or fewer BTO flats to choose from.
It said the new flats in this launch are priced with significant market discounts to ensure affordability, and hence, are considerably cheaper than comparable resale flats.
The PLH project Tanglin Halt Cascadia in the mature estate of Queenstown offers a total of 973 three- and four-room units. It is bounded by Commonwealth Drive and the Rail Corridor, and is near Commonwealth MRT station.
Prices range from $364,000 to $509,000 (without grants) for a three-room unit, and from $537,000 to $702,000 for a four-room one, making these flats the priciest in this launch.
Buyers will also have to wait the longest for these units as the project will take about 4½ years to be completed.
The second PLH project in this exercise is Verandah @ Kallang, which will have 1,143 two-room flexi, three- and four-room units on a site between Kallang, Stadium and Mountbatten MRT stations. Buyers will have to wait for about 3½ years.
Rail Green I and II @ CCK are the only projects in this launch featuring both five-room and three-generation units.
The other projects with five-room flats are Plantation Edge I and II in Tengah.
The Rail Corridor will run along and through Rail Green I and II @ CCK, which will take on a railway-inspired theme that pays homage to the area’s history.
Prices range from $463,000 to $595,000 for a five-room flat, and from $471,000 to $530,000 for a three-generation unit. The wait for a flat will range from three years and three months to four years.
Measures announced earlier to help first-timer families will take effect from this exercise.
These include setting aside more flats for those with Singaporean children aged 18 and below, as well as married couples aged 40 and under.
Applicants under this new First-Timer (Parents and Married Couples) priority category will also get one extra ballot chance in their BTO and Sale of Balance flat applications, for a total of three chances.
The final sales exercise of 2023 will be held in December. There will be about 6,000 flats on offer in Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Bukit Panjang, Jurong West, Queenstown and Woodlands.
HDB said that moving forward, it will release information on upcoming BTO projects only one exercise ahead, instead of two. This is to allow more flexibility in the planning of flat supply and locations, and to ensure that the advance information is as accurate as possible.
The next Sale of Balance flat exercise, originally set for December, will be pushed to 2024, it added. This will ensure applicants have more choices and improve their chances of booking a flat.
Regarding the stricter rules for applicants, PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor said: “We could probably get a better sense of the real demand for BTO flats, as applicants who are merely trying their luck may be discouraged from applying.”
Along with the new priority category, the rules could give first-timers a better chance of securing a flat, he added.
Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president for research and analytics at real estate firm OrangeTee & Tie, said projects near MRT stations, such as the Choa Chu Kang developments, could surge in popularity because of the upcoming reclassification of flats.
From the second half of 2024, BTO flats in choicer locations under the Prime and Plus categories will come with stricter resale conditions such as a 10-year minimum occupation period.
“Although some couples may hold back their applications owing to the stricter non-selection rules, other buyers rushing in to buy flats at places they deem to be in future Plus locations may mitigate the drop-out effect,” Ms Sun said.
Mr Gafoor estimates that between four and six applicants could vie for each unit in this launch, with stronger interest in the PLH and Tengah projects because of their proximity to an MRT station.
Cue. (n.d.). HDB launches 6,800 BTO flats, with tighter rules for applicants who reject offer to book units. The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/housing/hdb-launches-6800-bto-flats-with-tighter-rules-for-applicants-who-reject-offer-to-book-units