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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

HDB latest offerings good news for first-time buyers

Singapore: National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the Housing and Development Board's (HDB) latest launch of build-to-order (BTO) and Sale of Balance flats last month was “making good progress” in meeting the housing needs of first-time flat buyers.

In a blog post titled, Light At End Of Tunnel on his online journal Housing Matters, Khaw weighed up the application rates of HDB's largest crop of new flats launched, and said half the 15,500 first-time applicants would get flats.

Last month, the HDB released 8,200 flats - 5,415 for a BTO exercise, and 2,847 for a balance flats exercise. Balance flats are “leftover” units from previous BTO launches, surplus replacement flats from selective en-bloc redevelopment schemes, and those bought back by the HDB.

The joint BTO and balance flat sales saw mixed response. While balance flats were wildly popular, with some in mature estates seeing 50 times as many buyers as there were units available, the BTO exercise saw a more muted response with an average application rate of 1.7 times. Khaw wrote that the lower BTO sign-up rate this time meant “almost all the 6,700 applicants who selected these projects will get a chance to select a flat.” He also urged buyers to consider their options carefully before they make their applications, so as to increase the chance that they get the flat of their choice.

By ANN/Straits Times