Gov’t making “good progess” to ease housing shortage

Snippet from Yahoo!
Mon, Oct 3, 2011

After three built-to-order launches, the government is making good progress to ease the housing shortage, said Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan.

In his blog post on Monday, Khaw said Housing Development Board's (HDB) efforts in ramping up HDB flat supply will help stabilise the market.

Putting the housing needs of newlyweds who are first-time home HDB buyers as his top priority, Khaw added, "We are beginning to see some light at the end of the BTO tunnel."

He said that the September bumper launch of over 8,200 new flats — 5,400 of which are BTO flats and 2,800 are from the Sale of Balance flats (SBF) — has eased part of the shortage in public housing.

The new flats have attracted 27,900 applications — 9,500 for BTO and 18,400 for SBF. Khaw aims to have half of this demand met in this BTO exercise, while he added, "The other half can look forward to another 4,200 BTO flats in November and many more next year."

Out of the 27,900 applicants, 15,500 are first-timers.

Khaw also cited an average BTO flats’ application rate of 1.7 times — meaning that almost all the 6,700 applicants who selected these projects will get a chance to select a flat.

He added that with the recent increase of the income ceiling to $10,000, 6% of BTO and 10% of SBF applicants, whose incomes were above $8,000, are allowed to apply for flats as well.

While the SBF flats attracted a high application rate averaging 6.5 times, Khaw pointed out that 37% of the applicants are first-timers applying for the first time within the last one year.  He said that another 32% are second-timers applying also for the first time within the last one year.

Khaw explained that the high demand for SBFs are because many of them are in mature estates and are either completed or close to completion.

With application rates for SBFs ranging from 0.3 times — indicating more flats than applicants — to 52 times, Khaw advised Singaporeans, "One can therefore improve one’s success rate by thinking carefully about which project to apply for."

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