SINGAPORE: Those looking to purchase Build-to-Order (BTO) flats will soon be able to receive the results of their applications earlier, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Thursday (Mar 7).
The balloting time for BTO flats will be reduced from six to three weeks, and will take effect from the May 2019 BTO exercise.
"We have also been studying ways to improve our BTO application processes," Mr Wong said in his Committee of Supply speech. "I spoke about this last year and challenged 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."
In addition, the Housing and Development Board (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.
This would mean that during the May BTO exercise, HDB will announce the list of BTO sites for August and November.
"For first-timer couples, applying for a BTO flat is a major decision," said Mr Wong. "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."
The number of BTO flats with shorter waiting times of between two and three years will also be doubled to 2,000 this year, said the minister.
"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."
Mr Wong said those who need flats more urgently can go for the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) or the Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF).
Buyers can book flats from an open ROF pool at any time of the year, starting from June. Details on the application process will be shared in due course.