Number of BTO projects completed this year set to exceed pre-pandemic levels

HDB said five more projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year, barring unforeseen circumstances. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The number of Build-To-Order (BTO) projects completed by the end of this year is expected to exceed pre-pandemic figures, said the Housing Board (HDB) on Saturday (Oct 9).

This comes despite severe disruptions to the construction industry caused by the pandemic.

Among the 25 residential projects completed since January last year, 11 were completed in 2020 and another 14 have been wrapped up this year so far.

In total, more than 16,000 new homes have been delivered to Singaporeans since January last year.

HDB said five more projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year, barring unforeseen circumstances.

This makes up about 70 per cent more than the number of projects delivered last year.

The progress of these projects slated for completion last year had been disrupted by the two-month circuit breaker between April and June last year, after which the sector experienced slow resumption of construction activities.

The projected completion of 19 projects by the end of this year will exceed the 17 projects completed in 2018 and 2019 each.

Home buyers have to wait an average of four to five years for an ongoing BTO project to be completed, including delays brought about by Covid-19.

This is comparable to the average waiting time of 4.1 years for the 25 projects delivered since January last year.

About 40 per cent, or 11, of these projects were delivered in less than four years. Three projects were delivered in under three years.

Couples who applied for flats that are slated to be completed from October this year to end-2024 can expect to wait an average of 4.4 years.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee had addressed this issue in Parliament on Tuesday, adding: "Some have said that waiting times have risen to six to seven years. This is not the case."

He said that most flat buyers can expect to move into their flats four to five years after booking one.

The minister was responding to Ms Cheryl Chan, an MP for East Coast GRC, who had asked if estimated completion dates are expected to be pushed back, considering the impact Covid-19 has had on the construction sector.

HDB said on Saturday that about 10,350 new flats have been delivered to new home buyers from January to September this year.

This figure surpasses the 6,340 flats completed over the same period in 2020 and 9,380 flats which were also completed over the same period in 2019.

Addressing the issues of manpower shortage, supply disruption, increased cost of materials and productivity loss due to the pandemic, HDB said it has been working with its building contractors to secure the resources needed.

Additional assistance measures have also been introduced to ease the financial pressures brought about by pandemic-induced spikes in construction costs.

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