SINGAPORE - The supply of Housing Board Build-To-Order (BTO) flats will be raised to 18,000 units next year to accommodate a surge in demand, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Wednesday (Dec 30).
Pointing to the warm response to the recently concluded BTO sales launch in November, he said: "In response to this increased demand which we had been expecting, we are going to supply about 18,000 units next year."
This will be an increase of 3,000 units from the 15,000 BTO flats launched this year.
The "increased demand" comes mainly from recent housing policy changes, such as enhanced grants and increased income ceilings for new flats, which render more people eligible for BTO units.
"While we do this, I want to emphasise that we are still very mindful of making sure that we ensure a sustainable supply over the longer term," Mr Wong told reporters during a visit to Tampines Greenlace, a new BTO project.
"That's our first focus for the coming year - to ensure that the housing market remains in balance, remains stable, and we provide sufficient homes for Singaporeans," he added.
About 26,000 new HDB flats were completed this year.
Mr Wong said that next year's supply, which will be spread across different housing types and "a good variety of locations", might be adjusted along the way when necessary.
The HDB had earlier trimmed this year's supply of new flats from 16,900 to 15,000 because of a stabilising resale market.
It had also reduced the BTO supply last year, after ramping up construction for three years from 2011 to 2013.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Mr Wong also shared that many first-timers have been successful in applying for flats.
"The BTO application rate for first-timer families (applying for 3-room and bigger flats in non-mature estates) has stabilised to about 1.6 times. This means that most of these families would have been able to book their flats in their first attempt," he wrote.
He further noted that the property market is "on track for a soft landing".
"Resale prices have softened gradually to 2011 levels, and more than half of resale flats are now transacting close to their market value," said Mr Wong.
"This is a good outcome for both buyers and sellers."
Read more in the blog post here.