Last year’s focus on HDB first-timers (FT) was successful. This has allowed us to also focus on second-timers (ST) this year. The challenge is to do so, without harming the first-timers.
The mega launch in March of a combined BTO and SBF offering, with 8,000 new flats gave us an opportunity to test out the revised balloting rules, to favour second-timers in non-mature estates. The resultant application rates showing that second-timers significantly improved on their chances, while first-timers’ rate remained satisfactory, were greatly reassuring.
But it was an unusual bumper launch of 8,000 flats. What would it be when the bimonthly launch returned to the normal launch size of about 4,000 flats?
This was what the May BTO launch sought to subject our new balloting rules to. Thankfully, they passed the test!
As at 5 pm, 11,410 applications have been received for the 4,600 new flats, giving an overall application rate of 2.5, which is quite encouraging.
In particular, first-timers continue to enjoy a high chance of securing their first flat. The overall first-timer application rate is 1.6. This is lower than the 2.2 in the March BTO, and similar to the 1.6 in January earlier this year, and November last year. In non-mature estates, the first-timer application rate is even lower, at 1.3 compared to the rate of 1.9 in March.
As planned, more second-timers, too, will be able to select a flat. Their application rate in non-mature estates is at a single digit level of 7.3, which is similar to the rate of 7.0 in March. The overall second-timer application rate is also at a single digit level of 8.8, lower than the rate of 10.8 in March.
If first-timer application rates hold steady at below 2, I will be able to help even more second-timers get their new flats. The May BTO test results give us confidence that we are making steady progress on this journey. This is much to be cheerful about.
Meanwhile, I have scanned the selection results of the March launch.
I am particularly happy to note the results for the Toh Yi Studio Apartments. This was controversial when launched. But the project proved popular. About 220 applied for 132 units. Among them, 12% were existing Toh Yi residents.
The new Ageing-in-place Priority Scheme has ensured that all the Toh Yi residents who applied got a chance to select a unit, allowing them to age in place. This is a truly cheerful result!