HDB to halve time taken for resale transactions

The time it takes to buy or sell a resale flat will be cut from 16 weeks to about eight from next year, with a revamped HDB resale portal.
The time it takes to buy or sell a resale flat will be cut from 16 weeks to about eight from next year, with a revamped HDB resale portal. PHOTO: ST FILE

Upgraded portal from next year will make it easier to file applications, check eligibility

The time it takes to buy or sell a resale flat will be cut from 16 weeks to about eight from next year, with a revamped HDB resale portal.

Part of the country's Smart Nation push, the upgraded portal will also reduce the number of appointments needed to complete a deal from two to one, and will tap the Housing Board's (HDB) trove of resale transactions to do away with most professional valuations.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in a blog post yesterday that the new platform is "an example of how digital technology can be applied in practical ways to streamline existing processes and make citizens' lives more convenient".

Yesterday, HDB announced the changes to its resale portal, promised during March's debate on the National Development Ministry's budget.

It will go online on Jan 1, and make it easier to file applications and conduct eligibility checks.

The one-stop service will mean that buyers and sellers' financial documents can be uploaded and verified online, thus requiring only one appointment to sign the final legal documents.

Currently, the first appointment is for working out how much sellers will receive from the sale and assessing buyers' financial plans.

Buyers and sellers will also save time by having all the eligibility checks - such as for housing grants or whether they are within a neighbourhood's ethnic quotas - available on one page, instead of having to look up multiple e-services spread across the HDB website.

The updated portal will minimise the need for buyers and sellers to manually key in their data, as it will pull in common information used by government services, such as names, identity card numbers and addresses, for the relevant forms.

The HDB will also do away with valuations for most flats, eliminating the need for professional valuers to inspect a flat, thusspeeding up the process. Instead, HDB will let buyers know if the price is reasonable, and if not, how much CPF funds they can use or how big a loan they can get for the property.

This new service will cost $120 for all flat types. Under the current system, buyers fork out $156.45 for reports for one-and two-room flats, or $226 for three-room and larger flats.

Flat buyers and sellers will have to use a new Option to Purchase form - a legal document that gives a buyer the exclusive right to buy a flat - when the changes take effect. The current form is valid till Dec 31.

Mr Wong, who said the new platform is one of the initiatives under the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map, added that HDB will set up a dedicated helpline and help desk at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh to guide those who require assistance.

 

Civil servant Rachel Samuil, 32, who hopes her husband can sell their four-room Jurong flat to move to a bigger one, was among those who welcomed the shorter resale process.

"We have had some difficulty engaging the right buyer since it was put up for sale in May, but a shorter resale process means we get to move to our new space sooner once it is sold," she said.


Correction note: The article was edited to clarify how the HDB's new valuation process will work.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2017, with the headline 'HDB to halve time taken for resale transactions'. Print Edition | Subscribe