Singaporeans planning to buy Build-to-Order (BTO) flats will soon able to receive the results of their applications earlier, asserted Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong during his Committee of Supply speech in Parliament today.
Now, the balloting time for BTO flats has been reduced from six to three weeks and it will be implemented from May 2019 BTO exercise.
Speaking in Parliament, Wong said, “We have also been studying ways to improve our BTO application processes. I spoke about this last year and challenged Housing Development Board (HDB) to shorten the balloting time.”
“So I'm very happy to share that HDB has done a fundamental review of its processes and it has succeeded in reducing the time taken from six weeks to three weeks, and this will take effect from the May 2019 BTO exercise onwards,” he added.
The Minister also said that HDB will also announce upcoming BTO sites six months in advance instead of the current three months. This change will also kick in from the May BTO exercise.
As a result, during the May BTO exercise, HDB will announce the list of BTO sites for August and November.
Agreeing that the location of the flat is important for buyers particularly first-timer couples, Wong said, “For first-timer couples, applying for a BTO flat is a major decision. And one consideration is the location of the flat. Very often potential buyers want to know the planned locations of future BTO sales exercises, not just the present one so they can decide whether to put in an application now or hold back and wait for a subsequent sales exercise.”
“We have been careful about revealing too much information on future sales ... there will always be unexpected changes to the building plans (for example, due to changes in market conditions or demand). But I understand why buyers would like more information to plan ahead,” he added.
The Minister said that the number of BTO flats with shorter waiting times of between two and three years will also be doubled to 2,000 this year.
"There will be a limit to how many such flats we can offer due to factors like site availability. But we will continue to review how much more we can do and whether we can compress the timeline further,” he added.
However, those who need flats more urgently can go for the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) or the Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF).
Singaporeans can book flats from an open ROF pool at any time of the year, starting from June.