SINGAPORE: To help young couples get their first home earlier, some Build-to-Order (BTO) flats will be sold with a shorter waiting time, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said on Wednesday (Jul 19).
Three projects in Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun will start construction ahead of their sales launch, reducing the waiting time for these flats to two-and-a-half years. The typical waiting time for standard BTO flats is about three to four years, HDB said.
The tender for the construction of the first batch of 1,000 flats will be called this month, and construction works are expected to start in the fourth quarter of this year.
The flats will be launched for sale in the second half of next year, and will be completed between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.
First-timer families applying for these flats will get higher priority, with at least 95 per cent of the four-room and larger flats set aside for them – up from the current quota of at least 85 per cent in non-mature estates.
The flats will come with floor finishes, internal doors and sanitary fittings, reducing renovation works required and enabling home buyers to move in sooner. All units will also come with an open kitchen concept where the layout permits, HDB said, adding that flat buyers will no longer need to select these options under the Optional Component Scheme.
For elderly buyers of two-room Flexi flats however, HDB will continue to offer elderly fittings and furnishings under the Optional Component Scheme, it said.
UNSOLD BALANCE FLATS TO BE PUT UP AGAIN FOR SALE
A new sales exercise will be launched for unsold balance flats – the Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise, which will pool together all flats that remain unsold after a Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise. This is aimed at helping those with more urgent housing needs, or are less particular about location and attributes to have quicker access to a flat, HDB said.
The first ROF exercise will be held in August in conjunction with the BTO sales launch, with 1,394 units from the November 2016 SBF exercise on offer. At least 95 per cent of the flats will be set aside for first-timer families, and up to 5 per cent for second-timers.
For a start, ROF exercises will be held in February and August each year alongside BTO exercises, HDB said.
The changes come after National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced at this year's Committee of Supply debates that the Government will help young couples get their HDB flats earlier.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Mr Wong said his ministry will conduct a review of the ROF exercises after the initial rounds and evaluate if there is a need to adjust its frequency.
"I hope the wider range of options and more regular offer of flats will help home buyers find a home that best suits their needs," he said.