Who are the Successful Ones?


Last month, I shared with you the profile of the May BTO applicants. 14,000 applied but only 4,000 would be successful. Who are the successful ones? The May selection exercise is still ongoing, so we will only know the answers in a few months.

HDB has instead given me the results of the BTO exercises from January to March where the selections have almost been completed. I have organised the data into two tables to better present the analysis.

The first table shows the percentage of applicants being asked to select a flat, i.e. the chance of an applicant being selected. Balloting rules try to help applicants who have failed in earlier BTO launches by giving them additional chances. Every first timer has 2 or more chances of being selected. The breakdown is interesting:


  • First, when an application rate is about 2 (i.e. two applicants for one unit), almost all applicants will get a chance to select. This is because not all who are asked to select do so. Many will pass up the chance. For Jan BTO, practically all first-timers got to select a flat.  Even second-timers got an 84% chance to select.  However, as application rate increased to 5 or 8, the chances fell significantly, especially for second-timers. That is why we are ramping up BTO launches to reduce application rate, and hence raise the chances for our applicants.
  • Second, we load the balloting in favour of first-timers. For example, for Feb BTO, first-timers were 3 to 5 times more likely to be selected than second-timers.
  • Third, we also load the balloting in favour of those who had not been successful in earlier BTO launches. This improves their chances of being able to select a flat.

As many who had a chance to select did not go ahead, but let it pass, we need the second table below to complete the analysis. The figures refer to the percentages of applicants who did select a flat, as a proportion of those who had a chance to select.

While the first table is an outcome of our balloting rules, the second table reflects consumer choices. When asked to select, do applicants actually select? There is a range of outcomes. Applicants to choice BTO launches are more likely to say “yes”. Applicants who have been unsuccessful earlier are more likely to say “yes” too.

We are trying to offer larger BTO launches. This way, we hope to provide more choices and reduce the odds of repeated disappointment.

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