The Housing Board's (HDB) first Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise closed on Tuesday (Aug 08) with an oversubscription of almost 4.4 times the number of flats offered.
The ROF exercise, which pooled all balance flats offered in last November's Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise, saw 6,102 applications for 1,394 flats on offer.
Of the applicants, 2,868 were applying for a HDB flat for the first time and 2,408 were applying for a flat for the second time. Other applicants included singles and the elderly who met the eligibility conditions to buy a two-room flexi flat. The two-room Flexi Scheme allows elderly buyers to choose from flexible lease options ranging from 15 years to 45 years in five-year increments.
At least 95 per cent of the total flat supply was set aside for first-timer families, and up to 5 per cent for second-timer families.
Of the flats offered, there were 393 in popular mature estates such as Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio and Queenstown. About 71 per cent of the 1,394 flats have been completed.
ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said he expected the exercise to be well-received as the primary attraction of the units offered was the shorter waiting times.
"A lot of the flats are possibly near completion, and the bottom line is that if you need a flat urgently, this is a better deal over a resale flat."
He said the flats, while left over from Build-To-Order (BTO) and SBF exercises, may not be the "worst" of the lot. He said most people typically think "better units" are on higher floors, but this may not be the case for everyone.
"Those who apply in this exercise also get to try their luck to buy a flat in a mature estate at a subsidised price," he added. "At the end of the day, it's still a roof over their heads and it's value for money."
According to HDB, ROF exercises will be held twice yearly, in February and August, alongside BTO exercises.
Unlike the existing SBF exercise, the ROF groups all available balance flats in a common pool, and home buyers do not have to indicate their preferred flat type and estate in their application.
Under the ROF, home buyers - based on their balloted queue numbers - pick their preferred unit from the pool.