Balance flats a hit with expectant mothers and couples with young kids

MARRIED couples with a young child, or expecting one, have jumped on the balance flats offered in the last sales launch, according to figures from the Housing Board on Tuesday.

In fact, there were more than two applicants per balance flat available to them under the Parenthood Priority Scheme.

Under the scheme, which was launched at the start of the year to battle declining birth rates, half of the balance flats on offer were reserved for first-timer married couples with children younger than 16.

PPS applicants formed 119 per cent of the balance flat supply. These flats are typically in higher demand as they are already built, or close to the completion date.

For Build-To-Order flats, where an applicant might have to wait about three years for their flats to be built, PPS applicants formed just 14 per cent of the flat supply.

This is just half of the 30 per cent set aside for them under the scheme and meant that almost all who applied for these BTO flats will get to select one, a HDB spokesman said.

One in five PPS applicants were expecting a child, according to HDB.

Two other schemes also made their debut in the May launch, which offered about 8,000 flats in all and attracted almost 27,000 buyers.

HDB doubled the quota of two- and three-room BTO flats - from 15 per cent to 30 per cent - for second-timers in non-mature estates. A small portion (5 per cent) of this was set aside specifically for divorcees with children below 16.

The HDB said 21 divorced buyers had applied, which meant that all of them would have a chance to pick a unit.

The other scheme that kicked in was the Studio Apartment Priority Scheme, which sets aside half of the studio flats on offer for seniors purchasing a home near their current place, or close to their married children.

Again, buyers made a bee line for balance flats compared to BTO units, as the applications took up 150 per cent and 17 per cent of the studio apartments respectively.