HDB to release site locations of upcoming BTO projects three months before launch, instead of six

Telok Blangah Beacon in the mature estate of Bukit Merah. PHOTO: HDB

SINGAPORE - In a move that surprised some home seekers as it deviated from the norm, the Housing Board did not release on Tuesday (May 25) the site locations of upcoming Build-To-Order (BTO) projects for the November launch.

The Straits Times understands that for future BTO launches going forward, HDB will indicate only the estates of the upcoming projects and the types of flats available six months ahead.

The exact site locations and the total number of flats will be released only three months ahead of the launch at the August BTO sales exercise.

In response to queries from ST, HDB said: "The planning of the BTO projects is an evolving process, with more and specific details usually firmed up only closer to the launch date."

It added that it will provide details on the individual projects, such as the exact location and specific flat supply, three months ahead of the projects' scheduled launch.

"This would provide sufficient time for home seekers to plan their flat purchase," said the HDB.

Since March 2019, the HDB had been releasing projects details, such as site locations and the total number of flats, six months in advance.

HDB did not elaborate on the reasons for the change.

On Tuesday, the HDB said it will launch about 3,100 to 3,600 units of BTO flats in Choa Chu Kang (two-room flexi), Hougang (four-room and five-room), Jurong West (three-room and four-room), Kallang/ Whampoa (two-room flexi and four-room) and Tengah (two-room flexi, three-room, four-room and five-room), with more details to come at the next BTO exercise slated for August.

The site locations and the total number of flats for each estate were not released.

It was announced together with the launch of the May BTO sales exercise, where 6,373 new flats were put up for sale on Tuesday.

Previously, buyers would know at the May BTO exercise which projects - and their exact locations - would be launched in August and November.

Further details of the project such as the breakdown of the flats, the project name and site plan will be released only on the day of the launch, as it has been done all along.

There are typically four BTO sales exercises in a year - in February, May, August and November.

In 2019, Lawrence Wong - then National Development Minister - said the decision to announce details of BTO projects six months ahead was made to help potential buyers make a more informed choice on whether to put in an application in the current launch or hold back and wait for a subsequent sales exercise.

Animation producer Erica Lee, 28, said she was surprised that site locations for the November launch were not released.

"With the BTO flats always being oversubscribed, it's nice to be able to look at the upcoming projects to set your eyes on the next one you may be applying for, especially if you fail to get a good ballot number in the current application," said Ms Lee, who plans to apply for a BTO flat in Woodlands in the current May launch.

"I wouldn't say it hinders my planning but having something else to look forward to will help soften the blow a little."

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