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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Number of applicants for BTO flats on the rise

SINGAPORE: The optimum flat-to-applicant ratio for public housing launches appears to be 1:2, with almost every applicant that is given a chance to pick a flat doing so.

In his latest blog entry titled Who Are The Successful Ones?, posted on Monday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan gave an analysis of how earlier build-to-order (BTO) projects had done.

For the Housing Development Board's (HDB) January BTO launch, where there were two applicants for each of the 1,728 Bukit Batok and Yishun flats on offer, 92% of all the applicants were offered a flat.

Khaw, who took over the housing hot seat following the May general elections, wrote: “For (the) January BTO, practically all first-timers got to select a flat. Even second-timers got an 84% chance to select.”

This was taking into account how “not all who are asked to select (a flat) do so. Many will pass up the chance”, he said.

But the number of unhappy applicants for BTO flats, which form the lion's share of public housing available, increased dramatically over the following two months.

For February, where there were five applicants for every flat, only 34% actually got a chance to pick a flat, after taking into account those who turned down HDB's offer to pick one of the 1,593 Sengkang and Bukit Panjang flats on sale.

March, with a whopping eight applicants for each of the 1,527 Jurong and Sengkang flats put up for sale, had just 19% of the applicants getting a chance to pick a flat.

Those who had turned down a previous offer fared particularly badly in those months, with 13% and 4% in February and March respectively getting offered a flat, Khaw noted.

This, he said, is “why we are ramping up BTO launches to reduce application rate, and hence raise the chances for our applicants”.

Data from the later months, including May's unprecedented launch of 4,000 new flats, as well as last week's launch of 3,600 flats at a significant discount from earlier new flat prices, are not yet available.

By Asian News Network/The Straits Times

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