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From 2019 to 2021, 20 to 24 per cent of first-time families were successful on their first attempt for a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat in mature estates, says Minister for National Development Desmond Lee.
This is a written response to a parliamentary question by Workers' Party Member of Parliament (MP) He Ting Ru on Nov. 30.
He brought up a few questions pertaining to Housing and Development's (HDB) BTO applications in mature estates over the last three years:
- How many applicants are successful in their BTO flat application on their first attempt?
- What is the median number of attempts for a BTO flat before obtaining a successful application?
- How many applications required more than five attempts for a successful application?
- What is the maximum number of failed attempts that an applicant puts in for a BTO flat?
On the success rate of getting a BTO flat
"From 2019 to 2021, the percentage of all first-timer families who were successful on their first mature estate BTO attempt was between 20 and 24 per cent," said Lee.
There is generally a high demand for BTO flats in mature estates, and given the strong demand and limited flat supply, not all applicants are successful.
As such, applicants are encouraged to apply for flats in non-mature estates to improve their chances of securing a BTO flat.
"Virtually all first-timer families who apply for non-mature estate BTO flats were given a chance to select a flat within their first three tries, and almost 90 per cent were given a chance to select a flat within their first two tries."
The median number of attempts for BTO flats in mature estates before a successful application was one.
However, Lee pointed out that it would not be representative to look at the maximum number of failed attempts for a BTO flat in mature estates before applicants are successful.
He attributes this to some applicants not having an urgent need for a BTO and may be exclusively applying to BTO projects in mature estates or more attractive BTO projects only.
"Nevertheless, our records show that over the past three years, of all first-timer families who were successful for mature estates BTO flats, less than two per cent took more than five tries," said Lee.
Why do some successful applicants choose not to select a unit?
In a separate question, the People's Action Party's MP Mariam Jaafar brought up the issue of those who are successful in their ballot for HDB BTO flat but choose not to select a unit and if the reasons differ between applicants in mature and non-mature estates.
Lee responds that about four in ten applicants who were successful for a BTO flat chose not to select a flat.
The reasons for not selecting a flat are similar across applicants of BTO flats in both mature and non-mature estates.
"Common reasons cited by such applicants were their preferred units not being available, wanting to apply for flats in other sales exercises, or having decided to purchase a resale flat instead," explained Lee.
Lee understands that some applicants may have genuine reasons for not selecting a flat, but they crowd out others with more pressing housing needs.
Therefore, HDB encourages all applicants to book a flat when invited to do so. Those who choose not to will be issued a non-selection count.
First-timer families who accumulate two non-selection counts will have their subsequent flat applications moved to the second-timer category for a year.
Second-timer families who have two on-selection counts will not be able to participate in subsequent sales exercises for a year.
"This is to be fair to those who have more pressing housing needs."
Top photo from Gettyimages
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