Chief Editor March 04 2023

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HDB BTO flat applicants to lose priority status if they refuse to choose a flat

First timer BTO flat applicants who turn down the opportunity to select a BTO flat when invited to do so will lose their priority status for one year. They will be deemed second-timers for a year in the computer ballot.

Second-timers who accumulate one non-selection count will have to wait one year before they can apply for a flat again.

HDB has decided to tighten the BTO flat selections with effective from August 2023 sales exercise due to the long queue. 

Official statistics revealed that almost 40 per cent of BTO applicants do not book a flat when they had the opportunity. They either do not turn up or decline to book a flat at their selection HDB appointments. 

Propertyforsale Managing Director, Mr Chia said these figures suggest that the 10,000 odd BTO applicants were not serious in getting their new flats.They deprived genuine BTO applicants who just want a roof over their heads. 

“For some BTO applicants, they do not like low floors or west-facing units that get too much sunlight in the afternoon."

"Such units are often difficult to sell and do not fetch a good price in the resale market after the 5-years MOP”, he said.

BTO applicants get a queue number based on balloting and if there are units left when their number comes around, they will be invited to choose a new flat. 

Often, the number of applicants exceeds the number of flats available by multiple times, especially for popular locations in mature estates. 

In 2018, HDB allowed young couples aged 21 years old or above to defer their income assessment and apply for BTO flats early. Unfortunately, some have withdrawn their applications when their relationship failed to take off. These group of applicants will be  reduced as a result of this tightening in BTO applicantions from August 2023 exercises.

What if my queue number is way behind and more than total number of flats available to choose?

MND and HDB understand there may be cases whereby the applicants are left with very limited choices when they are invited to book their flats.

In this regard, HDB will waive the non-selection count for applicants when there are 10 or fewer BTO flats to choose from; or five or fewer SBF flats to choose from.

Family enjoys special benefits at HDB BTO balloting

First-time family applicants have a better chance at balloting as they get two ballot chances while second-time family applicants are given only one. Moreover, up to 95 per cent of HDB’s BTO or Sales of Balance Flat (SBF) supply is set aside for first-timer families. 

First-timer families also get an additional ballot chance for every subsequent BTO application in the non-mature estates if they had been unsuccessful two or more times. 

A new First-Timer (Parents & Married Couples) or FT(PMC) priority category has been created to encourage Singaporeans to start a family. To be eligible, the married couple must be first time applicants, aged 40 and below and have a child. They will be entitled to three ballot chances instead of two.

BTO Launches in February and May 2023 unaffected

"Driven by fear of missing out (FOMO), overwhelming response is expected at the February and May 2023 BTO launches before the new HDB rule kicks in. It will be the first timer BTO applicants' final attempt without being penalized for not choosing a flat when told to do so," said Mr Chia.

However, the non-mature estates located at Jurong West and Tengah may not appeal to the majority.