40% of applicants invited to book a BTO flat do not do so, says HDB, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

40% of applicants invited to book a BTO flat do not do so, says HDB

About 40 per cent of applicants who have been invited to book a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat end up declining the offer.

This is despite robust housing demand in the past two years, with some of the most popular BTO projects seeing up to 16 applicants vying for each of the four-room flats available.

In a statement on Sunday (June 26), the Housing Board said applicants who are invited to book a flat should take up the offer.

For those who turn down a chance to book a flat in a BTO or Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise, any additional ballot chances accumulated from previous unsuccessful applications will be set to zero.

HDB also said four in 10 BTO projects in 2020 and 2021 had application rates of 1.7 or lower, meaning that each unit only has 1.7 applicants or fewer vying for it.

The flats range from three to five-room units and are located in both mature and non-mature estates.

HDB said: “With these application rates, the first-timers who applied for these flats stood a good chance of being invited to book a flat.”

There were 19 BTO projects that had flats with first-timer application rates of 1.7 or lower, said HDB.

For seven of these 19 projects, the flats came with a waiting time of less than three years.

HDB said: “The waiting times for BTO projects launched in 2021 and 2020 have generally ranged from three to five years.

“It said the "median waiting time of BTO projects launched in 2021 was 3.8 years, which is lower than the 4.5 years for those launched in 2020”.

The locations of these BTO projects included the non-mature estates of Bukit Batok, Jurong West and Tengah, and Tampines, a mature estate.

HDB encouraged flat buyers to consider applying for BTO projects located in non-mature estates or projects with a larger supply, to increase their chances of booking a flat.

It said: “First-timers who have been unsuccessful in two or more attempts for BTO flats in the non-mature estates will be given an additional ballot chance at their subsequent application for a BTO flat in the non-mature estates.

“From our records, virtually all first-timer applicants of BTO flats in non-mature estates had a chance to book a flat within their first three tries.”

HDB also advised applicants to check its website. “Applicants are encouraged to refer to the median application rates, and consider flat categories with lower application rates, to improve their chances of securing a flat,” HDB said.

Those with specific location preferences or more pressing housing needs may also consider buying a resale flat on the open market, where they may be eligible for up to $160,000 in housing grants.

HDB said it would continue to ensure that public housing remains affordable and accessible for Singaporeans, especially first-timer families.