HDB to launch up to 23,000 BTO flats a year over next two years

This represents a 35 per cent increase every year in the number of flats available. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Up to 23,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats will be launched each year in 2022 and 2023 to meet the strong demand for public housing, said the Housing Board on Thursday (Dec 16).

This represents a 35 per cent increase every year in the number of flats available, from the 17,000 flats launched this year, said HDB.

Next year, home buyers can tap BTO flats across mature and non-mature towns such as Bukit Merah, Jurong West, Kallang Whampoa, Queenstown, Tengah, Toa Payoh and Yishun.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee said at a press conference that HDB will be prepared to launch up to 100,000 flats from 2021 to 2025, and will calibrate supply based on prevailing demand.

Mr Lee noted that BTO application rates have increased from 3.7 applications per BTO flat in 2019 to 5.5 in 2021, despite more flats being offered by the HDB.

HDB launched around 14,600 units in 2019 and around 17,000 units a year in 2020 and 2021.

The strong demand was driven by a larger number of newly married couples born in the late 1980s and 1990s and a growing trend of people choosing to live in smaller households, added Mr Lee. 

HDB said that a buoyant resale market amid the Covid-19 pandemic also channelled more demand to the BTO market.

HDB added: "The increased supply of flats will provide more housing options for young couples planning to start their marriage and parenthood journey, as well as for second-timer families, multi-generation families, the elderly, and singles."

Mr Lee said that supply of private housing though the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme will also be increased.

For the first half of 2022, there will be around 2,800 units on the Confirmed List, a 40 per cent increase from the previous GLS programme in the second half of 2021.

These include land parcels in Pine Grove, Dunman Road, Lentor Central, Lentor Hills Road for private developments and an executive condominium (EC) land parcel in Bukit Batok West Avenue 5. 

Another 3,700 units across eight land parcels, including one EC site, are on the Reserve List for the first half of 2022.

Mr Lee said the Government is prepared to step up supply even further if demand remains strong.

The increased supply in public and private housing comes on the back of a new set of cooling measures announced on Wednesday aimed at promoting a stable and sustainable housing market, given the increasing risk of property prices running ahead of market fundamentals and impacting housing affordability.

From Thursday, additional buyer’s stamp duty that must be paid for purchases of additional properties will be raised for citizens and permanent residents buying their second residential property onwards. 

Foreigners buying any residential property will pay an ABSD rate of 30 per cent, up from 20 per cent now.

The total debt servicing ratio for borrowers will also be tightened, while Housing Board loans will be lowered from 90 per cent to 85 per cent of a property's purchase price.

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Mr Mohan Sandrasegeran, research and content analyst at real estate agency Ohmyhome, noted that home buyers will have plenty of options next year as an “exceptionally higher number” of HDB flats – around 31,000 units – will complete their five-year minimum occupation (MOP).

This is a 22.7 per cent rise compared with the 25,000 flats that reached MOP this year, said Mr Sandrasegeran. 

“With more potential supply coming onto the market, buyers will have more choices that will cater to their requirements,” he said. 

Huttons Asia chief executive Mark Yip noted that while the increased supply in BTO flats, on top of those available in the HDB resale market, will offer buyers more options, demands for the BTO units will depend on the location, prices and construction period. 

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