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  • Writer's pictureDan Ho

HDB setting aside more BTO flats for First Time buyers

BTO allocation quota adjusted to give first-timer families and singles

greater certainty in securing a BTO flat in non-mature estates

Press Release by HDB on 27 Aug 2022

The Government is committed to helping Singaporeans own their first homes. In view of the strong housing demand from first-timer (FT) applicants for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats, MND and HDB will adjust the BTO allocation quotas to give FT applicants greater certainty in securing their first homes.

With effect from the August 2022 BTO exercise to be launched on 30 Aug 2022, more BTO units in non-mature estates will be set aside for FT applicants:

FT families: At least 85% of the 3-room BTO flat supply and 95% of the 4-room and larger flat supply in non-mature estates will be set aside for FT families. This is up from the current levels of at least 70% and 85% respectively. (For mature estates, we will continue to set aside at least 95% of BTO flat supply for FT families.)

FT singles: Up to 65% of the non-senior 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates will be set aside for FT singles, an increase from up to 50% currently.

This is consistent with our past approach to revise the BTO allocation quota based on demand from FT applicants and second-timer (ST) families. For example, in Nov 2009, we increased the BTO allocation quota for FT families to meet FT demand amidst tight housing supply during the period, and in Mar 2012, we increased the ST allocation quota for all BTO flats in non-mature estates to provide them with more housing options after largely fulfilling FT demand.

Strong housing demand from first-timer families and singles

Currently, FT applications continue to form the bulk of BTO applications. The number of unique FT family applicants seeking new flats has increased significantly from over 19,000 in 2018 to about 34,000 in 2021. There were 4.1 FT family applicants per BTO flat in 2021, compared with 2.2 in 2018, signalling robust demand for housing among this group. We also recognise that FT applicants generally have more pressing and immediate housing needs to start their life plans. With the adjustments, more BTO flats in non-mature estates will be set aside for FT families, and this will increase their chances of securing their first home.

Demand from FT singles for 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates has also increased. In 2021, there were 7.5 FT single applicants per 2-room Flexi flat in non-mature estates, up from 5.1 in 2020. On the other hand, application rates from FT and ST families for such flats have remained low at 0.5 and below for the past two years. To meet the demand from FT singles, a larger proportion of 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates will be allocated to this group.

Support for second-timer families

While the majority of our new flat supply will be set aside for FT applicants, HDB will continue to set aside part of the BTO supply for ST families to meet their housing needs. We will also ensure that ST households in need of subsidised housing will continue to have access to BTO flats:

a) We will continue to set aside 5% of 2-room Flexi and 3-room BTO flats in non-mature estates for divorced or widowed parents with child, under the Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/ Widowed Parents) (ASSIST).

b) Public rental households who are able and ready to move to homeownership will continue to enjoy priority under the Tenants’ Priority Scheme. These households will also benefit from our generous grants (e.g. Fresh Start Housing Grant, Step-Up CPF Housing Grant) to help them own a flat again. They will receive one-to-one guidance from HDB’s Home Ownership Support Team (HST) on their housing budget, options and available grants in their homeownership journey.

For ST applicants with extenuating circumstances who need further assistance, HDB will assess their situation on a case-by-case basis and see how best to help them.

Advice for flat buyers

Flat buyers can maximise their chances of securing a flat by considering the following:

  • Apply for BTO flats in non-mature estates. FT families who have been unsuccessful in two or more BTO flat applications in non-mature estates will be given an additional ballot chance at their subsequent BTO flat application in a non-mature estate. Virtually all FT families applying for BTO flats in non-mature estates have been successful within their first three tries.

  • Refer to the median application rates on the HDB Flat Portal during the BTO exercises and consider flat categories with lower application rates, to improve their chances of securing a flat.

  • Book a flat when invited to do so. For FT families who turn down one chance to book a flat in the BTO or Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise, any additional ballot chances accumulated from past unsuccessful BTO applications in non-mature estates will be set to zero. Those who turn down two chances to book a flat will be considered as ST applicants in the computer ballot for one year, and may find themselves taking a longer time to secure a new HDB flat.

Flat buyers with specific locational preferences or more immediate housing needs may also consider buying a resale flat on the open market, where FT families may be eligible for up to $160,000 in housing grants.

More flats coming onstream

To meet the strong housing demand, HDB has been ramping up the supply of BTO flats and will launch up to 23,000 flats per year in 2022 and 2023. This is a significant increase of 35 per cent from the 17,000 flats launched in 2021. We are also prepared to launch up to 100,000 flats in total from 2021 to 2025, if needed. The increased supply of flats will provide more affordable housing options for BTO applicants, including young couples in their marriage and parenthood journey, as well as ST families, seniors and singles. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and explore other ways to provide further support to first-timers and other groups in their homeownership journey.

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