• Published Date: 15 Jun 2022

    HDB's Reply


    Flat buyers encouraged to apply for projects with low application rates to maximise chances
    Date: 15 Jun 2022


    We thank Forum writers Foo Sing Kheng (Make use of subsidies for BTO flats and live thriftily, June 3) and Mr Sonny Yuen (Tweak system to help unlucky applicants, June 3) for their feedback.

    Helping families secure their first home is HDB's priority. Hence, the vast majority of our new flat supply is set aside for families buying their first homes.

    These include: at least 85 per cent of the four-room and bigger Build-To-Order (BTO) flats offered in non-mature estates; at least 95 per cent of the three-room and bigger BTO flats offered in mature estates; and at least 95 per cent of the three-room and bigger flats offered in Sale of Balance Flats exercises.

    Additionally, first-timer families are given two ballot chances compared with one ballot chance for second-timer families. Those who have been unsuccessful in two or more attempts for BTO flats in non-mature estates will be given an additional ballot chance for each subsequent BTO application in the non-mature estates.

    As a result, virtually all first-timer families have been invited to book a flat within their first three applications for a BTO flat in non-mature estates. In fact, 90 per cent of such applicants have been successful within two tries.

    While there are applicants who have not been invited to book a flat despite multiple applications, these applications usually include those for BTO projects in mature estates or in Sale of Balance Flats exercises. No additional ballot chances are given for such applications due to the limited flat supply. Some may also have turned down an opportunity to book a flat.

    We encourage flat buyers to apply for projects with low application rates to maximise their chances of securing a flat. These are generally BTO projects in non-mature estates, or BTO projects with a larger flat supply.

    With about 40 per cent of invited applicants deciding not to book a flat, first-timer families applying to projects with application rates below 1.7 times stand a good chance of booking a flat. Last year, more than 35 per cent of BTO projects in non-mature estates with three-room or bigger flat types had application rates of 1.7 times or lower among first-timer families.

    Those with specific location preferences or more pressing housing needs may consider buying a resale flat, and may defray the cost of their flat purchase by tapping the generous housing grants of up to $160,000.

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

    Norlilah Abdul Latiff
    Director (Sales)
    Housing and Development Board



    Letters to The Straits Times


    Make use of subsidies and live thriftily
    Date: 3 Jun 2022


    From: Foo Sing Kheng


    I believe that young people should start their married life by doing things within their means.

    I cannot fathom why 40 per cent of applicants drop out from each Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercise (Repeat applicants a factor in higher BTO application rates: HDB, June 1).

    Housing Board BTO flats are generally affordable, especially the smaller units. They are heavily subsidised, compared with private housing.

    Young Singaporeans should take advantage of the state subsidies to start their families in a BTO flat, instead of paying larger mortgages for resale flats.

    The first house we buy may not be the best or the most satisfactory. It is very likely that we will not live there forever.

    As long as they are not choosy about the location or what floor it is on, the majority of Singaporeans can afford an HDB BTO flat.

    Yes, we only live once. But we need to live thriftily rather than indulge in wants that bring us constant anxiety and stress.


    Tweak system to help unlucky applicants
    Date: 3 Jun 2022


    From: Sonny Yuen


    Cyber security analyst Joseph Lee told The Straits Times that he had been unsuccessful in his last five attempts to apply for a Build-To-Order flat in non-mature estates (Why are HDB BTO application rates so high? What does your queue number say about your chances?, June 1).

    I am sure he is not alone in this situation.

    While the system generally works, some tweaking may be needed to help the really unlucky ones.

    I suggest that after three to five unsuccessful ballots, such applicants could be given priority balloting with two flat selection choices if successful.

    If the applicant still doesn't make a selection after this, and his failure is due to fussiness over making his selection, then it is only fair that he reapply and start the whole process again.