S’pore govt dealing with backlog of applicants since BTO market was opened to singles: Lawrence Wong
He said the fundamental solution to the issue is to build more flats.
The government is currently dealing with a backlog of applicants in the Build-To-Order (BTO) market since it was opened to singles, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov. 5).
He highlighted that the application rate for singles had been brought down to three times (meaning on average, an applicant who is single has to apply for a flat three times before succeeding in balloting a flat) in the first half of this year — a figure that he acknowledged was still on the high side.
Wong was responding to a follow-up question posed by Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah, who had asked about the application rates for both young couples and singles.
Singles and their parents can buy a BTO or resale flat together
Wong noted that currently, singles and their parents can form a family nucleus to jointly buy a BTO or resale flat of any type together.
He also said that singles who wish to a buy flat by themselves can do so for either a BTO or resale flat of any size from age 35.
Additionally, subsidies are also made available for eligible families and singles, by HDB, for the purchases of both new and resale flats.
However, Wong said, given that the fundamental solution to the disproportionately-high demand is to build more flats, there is a need to “stabilise the situation before we can consider any priority” for first-time single applicants.
Three times the charm for young couples applying for BTO flats
As for young couples, Wong pointed out that the overall BTO application rate for two-room Flexi flats was 1.6 times in the first half of 2019.
When Lee said she had seen cases of young couples unsuccessfully applying for flats more than thrice, Wong replied that the government was committed to ensuring that first-time couples will be successful in getting a BTO flat in a non-mature estate, within three tries.
He further stated:
“If the member knows of any applicant or applicants who are unable to do so, please let us know. Because, based on our data, based on our checks, virtually everyone can do so already today.
Many times, they will tell you they can’t but when we check through their applications, very often they have tried for a mature estate, or they have tried for a balance flat. So those don’t count.”
Top image from HDB Facebook Page