Longer wait for flat buyers as some projects in latest BTO sales exercise may take up to 5 years to complete

Home buyers keen on the 1,785-unit UrbanVille @ Woodlands project will have to wait around 62 months. PHOTO: HDB

SINGAPORE - A number of projects in the mega build-to-order (BTO) sales exercise on Wednesday (Aug 12) may take up to five years to complete due to safety measures introduced at construction sites to curb Covid-19.

The Housing Board said home buyers keen on the 1,785-unit UrbanVille @ Woodlands project, a five-minute walk from Woodlands MRT station, will have to wait the longest, at around 62 months.

The project is slated to be completed in the second quarter of 2026.

The 1,070-unit Costa Grove in Pasir Ris will take between 56 and 58 months, with an estimated completion date in the fourth quarter of 2025.

The 472 BTO flats in Bishan and 1,044 flats in Parc Residences @ Tengah have an estimated waiting time of between 52 and 54 months, to be ready around the second or third quarter of 2025.

On Wednesday, National Development Minister Desmond Lee acknowledged in a Facebook post that some of the projects have a "longer than normal" completion timeline, which may be of concern to buyers.

He said: "While projects may take longer than normal to complete, I have asked HDB to see how we can reduce the length of the delays where possible."

He added that apart from meeting housing needs, the safety of construction workers is also important.

"To reduce the risk of a resurgence of Covid-19 at construction sites, we have calibrated the restart of construction activities, and required that building contractors adhere to safe management measures," said Mr Lee.

He urged those with urgent housing needs to consider buying a flat in the resale market, noting that first-time buyers may receive up to $160,000 in housing grants.

In a statement, HDB said: "Flat buyers are advised to take the estimated project completion timelines into consideration before deciding to submit an application."

A total of 7,862 flats in 11 housing projects spread across eight towns are being offered for sale, making it the biggest sales exercise by the HDB this year.

Some 3,000 flats in Toa Payoh and Sembawang were offered in February and a further 5,700 flats in Bishan, Sembawang, Tampines, Tengah and Toa Payoh will be launched in November.

Technical support executive Muhammad Nazirul, 29, was planning to apply for UrbanVille @ Woodlands but the long wait has him and his fiancee relooking their options.

He said: "After we get married either next year or in early 2022, we may have to rent a home for a few years while we wait for a home.

"The rent we pay could be saved for renovation costs for the new flat, so we'll need to discuss further if we want to apply for a unit at UrbanVille @ Woodlands."

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