Shorter waiting time for some BTOs being looked at: Lawrence Wong

Shorter waiting time for some BTOs being looked at: Lawrence Wong

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong says that HDB will launch 17,000 new flats next year.

SINGAPORE: Those looking to apply for a flat could see a shorter waiting time at some new sites, according to a blogpost by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Wednesday (Dec 14).

Mr Wong wrote that he has asked the Housing & Development Board (HDB) to plan and prepare the land for several new Build-To-Order (BTO) sites with shorter waiting time.

The minister said that over the past year, he has received feedback from young couples to reduce the waiting times for BTO flats. "These units will not be ready next year, but I hope we can begin to offer them by 2018," he said.

He added that in the coming year, HDB will launch 17,000 new flats. The agency launched 18,000 new flats this year, and it is gradually tapering supply but still ensuring a healthy pipeline to meet demand, he said.

"Once again, we will offer a good spread across the mature and non-mature estates. This will give buyers a range of choices, including young couples who wish to live near their parents or the elderly who want to right-size and age in place," Mr Wong wrote.

He also said that in 2016, prices for public housing was "kept stable" and BTO application rates for first-timer families applying for three-room or bigger flats in non-mature estates have "remained stable and manageable".

The application rate was 1.5 times for the November launch and an average of 2 times for the whole year, he wrote. "From experience, this means that BTO applicants will be able to get a flat within their first or second try, and most definitely by the third try. Hence, I always advise young families to apply for BTO flats in non-mature estates to increase their chances of success."

Mr Wong also gave details of the number of households that benefited from some of the more recent initiatives:

  • About 2,200 more households were able to buy a subsidised flat under the higher income ceiling

  • 4,100 households benefited from the enhanced Special CPF Housing Grant

  • About 6,000 household benefited from the Proximity Housing Grant when they purchased a flat in the resale market close to their parents or married children
Source: CNA/kk