The Nov 2015 BTO and SBF exercise will close tonight. This is a landmark launch for HDB, with a record 12,411 flats on offer. It is also significant because several policy changes took effect, benefiting many more Singaporeans across different buyer groups.
First, with the higher income ceilings, more Singaporeans are able to apply for a new HDB flat. About 2,100 families and 220 singles in this exercise benefited from the higher income ceilings of $12,000 and $6,000 respectively.
Second, more lower- and middle-income home buyers benefit from the enhanced Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG). Some 6,500 families are eligible to apply for grants, as the SHG was extended to middle-income buyers earning up to $8,500. All eligible families will also receive a higher SHG quantum, in some cases, up to $20,000 more.
Third, we offered 2-Room Flexi flats for the first time to give seniors more choice and flexibility, and set aside 40% of these units for them. Response has been encouraging. About 1,400 seniors applied for the 966 units of 2-Room Flexi flats offered under this BTO exercise.
Overall, the BTO application rate for 2-Room Flexi flats is a healthy 2.5. Flats in Bidadari flats received some of the highest application rates, despite their higher prices. This can be attributed to their central location, presence of two MRT stations and distinctive “Community in the Garden” concept. To meet the strong demand, we will be launching more flats in Bidadari next year, with close to 1,600 units in the Feb 2016 BTO exercise.
It is also heartening that about one-quarter of Bidadari applicants applied through the Married Child Priority Scheme to live with or near their parents or married child, in this case staying in Toa Payoh town or Potong Pasir estate. This is an example of how we provide more opportunities for families to live closer together for mutual care and support.
Overall, the BTO application rate for 3-room or larger flats is a healthy 3.2. Notwithstanding the strong demand, for Singaporeans buying their first home, the good news is that the first-timer application rate in non-mature estates is only around 1.6. Non-mature estate flats are also more affordable and make up 70% of the BTO flats launched in this round. Taken together, this means that almost all first-timer applicants will stand a good chance of selecting an affordable flat of their choice.
With application rates stabilising, we are still keeping a close eye on buyer demand and will adjust the BTO supply accordingly. In the meantime, best of luck to home buyers who applied in this exercise!
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