HDB to ramp up supply of BTO flats, with demand up by 70%
Marriages and changing social norms fuel increase in applications
There has been a surge in demand for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats, with the number of applications jumping 70 per cent last year - fuelled by population trends and changing social norms.
The Housing Board said it will continue to ramp up the supply of BTO flats to meet the demand, which is expected to remain robust in the near future.
It said yesterday that there were almost six (5.8) applicants vying for each unit launched last year, compared with fewer than three (2.6) applicants a unit in 2018. There were 38,500 applications for BTO flats in 2018, which rose to 51,400 in 2019, and 87,800 last year, HDB said.
Even though the number of BTO flats launched went up from 15,800 in 2018 to 16,800 last year, it meant greater competition for flats.
The rise matched a sharp increase in the number of applications from first-timers, which rose from 26,100 in 2018 to 55,300 last year.
Marriages and changing social norms were key drivers of the demand. Citing the 2020 population census, HDB said the number of married couples has increased from more than 880,000 in 2010, to more than 977,000 last year.
It also said the average number of Singaporean marriages each year from 2015 to 2019 was 23,600, up from the 22,400 between 2010 and 2014.
It added that smaller households were also pushing up demand as more young couples, singles and elderly parents wanted to live by themselves.
Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty Network, suspects that part of the increase in applications last year was from anxiety over how the pandemic might affect the pipeline of flats.
"People think they had better get a flat, especially when rumours about longer waits and shortages go around," he said.
But he felt that those applying for flats should consider whether they really need them, instead of being fixated on getting a flat by a certain age.
HDB yesterday also outlined how it is tackling the increase in the number of people seeking flats, stressing that "helping Singaporeans secure their first home is a key priority".
"In recent years, HDB has ramped up the supply of new flats to meet the housing needs of Singaporeans, from launching 14,600 flats in 2019, to 16,800 flats in 2020."
It added that it had launched 17,109 flats this year. Together with the more than 5,000 balance flats also offered, this meant that about 22,400 flats have been made available this year. HDB said it will increase the supply even further next year, when it plans to launch more than 17,000 flats.
It provides various housing grants to support Singaporeans in buying a BTO flat.
About 15,000 first-timer families and 3,000 first-timer singles received housing grants for the purchase of new flats from 2018 to last year. These numbers made up about 40 per cent of first-timer families, and 64 per cent of first-timer singles.
HDB said it would continue to ensure that the housing supply remains responsive to needs.
"This includes ramping up our BTO flat supply in existing estates as well as reviewing our land use plans to secure new housing sites, while carefully calibrating the balance between safeguarding our green spaces and building new homes and amenities for Singaporeans."