During the Budget this year, I announced two measures to help couples get their new homes sooner. HDB is ready to launch the two measures.
The first batch of 1,000 flats in Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun will begin construction later this year.
These flats will be launched for sale in the second half of 2018 and will be ready between the fourth quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021.
This means that homebuyers will wait about 2.5 years for their flat from the time of application, instead of the typical three to four years waiting time for BTO projects.
The second measure is the introduction of a new way to apply for balance flats. This will help families with more urgent housing needs and who are less particular about location and flat attributes.
Currently, HDB’s Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) are a popular option among households, as the flats are nearer to completion or even completed, and spread across various towns. But after every SBF exercise, there are usually some flats left unsold.
HDB will now pool together these balance flats and re-offer them for sale, as part of a new sales mode called the Re-Offer of Balance Flats or ROF.
Under the ROF exercise, applicants will be shortlisted using a computer ballot, and will get the chance to select any available ROF unit, regardless of flat type and location, based on their queue number.
The first ROF exercise will be held in August 2017 with nearly 1,400 units on offer.
For a start, we plan to have ROF exercises twice a year, alongside the major BTO exercises (and on top of the existing SBF exercises which are also carried out twice a year).
After the initial few rounds, we will do a review and consider whether there is a need to adjust the frequency.
I hope the wider range of options and more regular offer of flats will help homebuyers find a home that best suits their needs.
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