20-24% of first-time BTO applicants in mature estates succeed on first try, less than 2% need more than 5 tries: Desmond Lee
SINGAPORE — Less than two per cent of first-time homebuyers took more than five tries to secure a built-to-order (BTO) flat in a mature estate from 2019 to 2021, while the percentage of those who were successful on their first attempt was between 20 and 24 per cent, said Minister for National Development Desmond Lee.
- Mr Desmond Lee said less than two per cent of first-time homebuyers took more than five tries to secure a BTO flat in a mature estate from 2019 to 2021
- The National Development Minister also said that between 20 and 24 applicants were successful on their first attempt
- Mr Lee added that the median number of attempts before a successful BTO application in a mature estate was one
SINGAPORE — Less than two per cent of first-time homebuyers took more than five tries to secure a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat in a mature estate from 2019 to 2021, while the percentage of those who were successful on their first attempt was between 20 and 24 per cent, said Minister for National Development Desmond Lee.
Of all those first-time applicants who succeeded, the median number of attempts before they successfully applied for a BTO in mature estate during this same period was one, he added.
Mr Lee was responding to a parliamentary question from Workers’ Party Member of Parliament (MP) He Ting Ru on Wednesday (Nov 30).
Ms He of Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) had posed four questions to the minister regarding the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) BTO applications in mature estates in each of the last three years.
The questions were related to:
How many applicants were successful in their BTO flat application at their first attempt
The median number of attempts before a successful BTO application
How many applications required more than five attempts for a successful application
The maximum number of failed attempts that an applicant put in for a BTO flat
In his response, Mr Lee said that it would not be representative to look at the maximum number of unsuccessful BTO attempts in a mature estate made by a first-time homebuyer before they succeeded.
“This is because there are some applicants who may not have an urgent need for a BTO flat, and may be applying exclusively to (mature estate) BTO projects or more attractive BTO projects only,” he said.
Mr Lee added that generally, the Government sees high demand for BTO flats in mature estates, and given this strong demand, not all applicants would be able to secure one.
“As such, we encourage applicants to apply for flats in the non-mature estates in order to improve their chances of securing a BTO flat,” said Mr Lee.
He added that “virtually all first-timer families” who apply for BTO flats in a non-mature estate 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.
WHY SOME APPLICANTS REJECT FLATS
In a separate response to the People’s Action Party MP Mariam Jaafar (Sembawang GRC), Mr Lee said that about four in 10 applicants who were successful in their ballot for a BTO flat chose not to select a unit.
He said the reasons for not selecting a flat are similar across applicants of 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,” said Mr Lee.
Ms Mariam wanted to know how the reasons provided by applicants of flats in mature and non-mature estates differed if they were offered a BTO flat, but chose not to select a unit subsequently.
Mr Lee said that while some applicants may have genuine reasons for not selecting a flat, “they do crowd out others with more pressing housing needs”.
For this reason, he said HDB encourages all applicants to book a flat when they are invited to do so. Otherwise, they will be issued a non-selection count.
If a first-time homebuyer accumulates two non-selection counts, they will have their subsequent flat applications moved to the second-timer category for a year, said Mr Lee.
And if a second-time homebuyer accumulates two non-selection counts, Mr Lee said they will not be able to participate in subsequent sales exercises for a year.
Said Mr Lee: “This is to be fair to those who have more pressing housing needs. Nevertheless, HDB may exercise flexibility on a case-by-case basis to waive the non-selection count if there were limited number of flats available for selection.”
Last month, Mr Lee said that his ministry will be reviewing whether the classification of public housing estates as mature or non-mature should be adjusted to “keep pace with the times”.
He had said that as non-mature estates age, distinctions between mature and non-mature estates are becoming less relevant.
“For example, those staying in Jurong East and Sengkang, currently classified as non-mature estates, may share with you the wide array of amenities in their towns, which are comparable to those in some mature estates,” he said then.
Related topicsHDB BTO Desmond Lee
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