Get flat faster under two new schemes

HDB flats near Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10. Besides BTO flats, HDB will also introduce a new sales mode, known as the Re-Offer of Balance Flats, to pool all unsold units from previous sale of balance flats exercises.
HDB flats near Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10. Besides BTO flats, HDB will also introduce a new sales mode, known as the Re-Offer of Balance Flats, to pool all unsold units from previous sale of balance flats exercises.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

A total of 1,000 Build-To-Order flats in Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun will be made available to home buyers quicker, with a wait time of 2½ years compared with the typical three to four years.

They will be put up for sale in the second half of next year, and buyers can begin collecting their keys between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.

In a statement yesterday, the Housing Board said this is aimed at helping young couples get their flats faster.

This is achieved not by speeding up the construction. Instead, HDB will begin building the selected projects before the flats are sold. This is unlike the usual process where they are built to order, that is, after they have been bought.

A tender for this batch of 1,000 flats will be called this month. Construction is expected to start at the end of the year.

Another measure to reduce the wait for home buyers is the doubling of the number of times a year when they get a shot at buying unsold units from previous sales launches.

 

A new sales mode, known as the Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF), will pool unsold units from past Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises. ROFs will take place every February and August. This is on top of SBFs, which are alongside BTO exercises in May and November.

The first ROF will take place next month, with 1,394 units. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to select and book a flat if there are available units. At least 95 per cent of the units will be set aside for first- timer families.

"This will help those with more urgent housing needs and/or are less particular about location and attributes to have quicker access to a flat," said HDB.

The two measures were first announced during the debate over the Ministry of National Development's annual budget in March.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in a blog post yesterday: "I hope the wider range of options and more regular offer of flats will help home buyers find a home that best suits their needs."

Correction note: In an earlier version of the story, we stated that applicants of the Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF) sales mode will not be able to pick their desired flat location. In fact, ROF applicants can select their flats after they are shortlisted by computer ballot. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Get flat faster under two new schemes'. Print Edition | Subscribe