19,600 BTO flats to go on sale in 2024, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

19,600 BTO flats to go on sale in 2024

Some 19,600 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats will be launched in 2024, including 2,800 flats with shorter waits of below three years.

These will be launched across three sales exercises in February, June and October, down from four launches a year, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee on Dec 28.

The new classification of flats into Prime, Plus or Standard categories will take effect from the October launch, which will also be the largest in 2024, he added.

HDB towns are now categorised as mature or non-mature.

From 2016, BTO launches had typically happened in February, May, August and November. But buyers can expect three launches yearly from 2024.

The Housing Board said in a statement that the Sale of Balance Flats exercise will happen once a year from 2024, with the next round in February.

Such launches previously took place twice yearly – in May and November – but the latter launch in 2023 was pushed to 2024.

About 4,100 flats will go on sale in Bedok, Queenstown, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Punggol and Woodlands in the February BTO exercise. Another 1,500 Sale of Balance flats in various towns will be released.

Mr Lee said the number of BTO sale exercises was adjusted to give applicants a wider range of projects in each launch. The larger number of units means they have a higher chance of balloting for a flat.

A wider gap between each launch will also reduce overlaps, where an applicant may have obtained a queue number in one launch but may not have been invited to book a unit when the next launch comes.

“It will not entirely eradicate the overlap because of the sheer number of units, and people come one by one to select a unit... But it will reduce the overlap,” Mr Lee said.

Asked about the drawbacks of having three BTO launches instead of four, Mr Lee said some people might think there are fewer opportunities to apply for a flat.

But he stressed that there was “a lot of overlap” with four launches, and this posed practical problems for applicants. With more launches, there were also fewer units and estates offered per launch, he said.

Noting that overall application rates have stabilised, Mr Lee said: “It is the right time to move from four to three. There are more upsides than downsides.”

Mr Lee noted that the 19,600 homes that will be launched in 2024 is higher than the pre-pandemic supply of between 16,000 and 17,000 flats a year. HDB said the aim is for three in four new flats launched in 2024 to have waits of four years or less.

The 2,800 flats with shorter waits included in the 2024 BTO supply were initially meant to be launched in 2025, Mr Lee said. Such flats are those already being built when they are launched.

Mr Lee declined to reveal where these flats will be launched in 2024 and said this will be announced at the launch. In 2023, 732 flats with shorter waiting times were offered.

Asked how many such flats will be launched from 2025, Mr Lee said about 2,000 to 3,000 can still be expected yearly, though the supply will fluctuate based on demand.

If demand suddenly picks up, Mr Lee said the authorities may have to “push all our chips forward”, which was the approach taken during the pandemic, when shorter-waiting-time flats were “sacrificed” and launched the moment they were built, rather than a year or two later.

hdbPUBLIC HOUSINGMinistry of National DevelopmentDESMOND LEE