Photo by Nguyen Thu Hoai via Unsplash.

HDB BTO exercise attracts over 10,500 applicants

First-timers have a good chance of getting their desired flats, analysts said.

HDB’s latest BTO application exercise has attracted 10,521 applicants as of 28 February 2024– 21.6% lower than December 2023 application levels, although there is a higher overall application rate when compared to the number of flats launched.

The overall application rate– number of applicants divided by number of flats– edged up to 2.5 in February 2024 compared to 2.2 in December 2023. 

The higher application rate may be due to HDB reducing the number of BTO exercises to 3 in 2024; more flats offered with a shorter waiting time; and a lower supply of BTO flats compared to December, said Huttons’ senior director for data analytics, Lee Sze Teck. 

Whilst the application rate is higher than two months earlier, it is still moderately muted compared to BTO application rates between 2021 to 2023. This may indicate that BTO demand has largely stablised, said PropNex Realty CEO Ismail Gafoor.

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Good chance for first timers
Gafoor noted that many first-timer families stand a good chance of securing a BTO flat, at least based on 5PM data.

“First-timer application rates for 4-room flats in Choa Chu Kang, Punggol, and Woodlands, are all currently below 2 times, apart from Bedok (2 times), Hougang (4.3 times) and Queenstown (3.2 times),” Gafoor said.

The 3-room flat application rates amongst first-timer applicants across most projects are below 1 time as of 5PM, he added.

It’s second-timer families that face tougher competition for their desired flat, with the application rates for 4-room and bigger flats amongst second timers are elevated even for non-mature projects, for instance, 10.4 times for 4-room flats in Punggol to 24 times for 4-room flats in Hougang.

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More space desired
Both Gafoor and Lee noted the robust demand for 5-room BTO flats. The 680 flats offered has garnered over 2,098 applications as of 5PM 28 February, translating to an application rate of 3.1 times.

“Interest in 5-room flats across all BTO projects was strong, an indication of the need for more space post-pandemic,” Lee said.

Demand for 4-room flats was also competitive, with about 4,921 applicants for the 1,719 units, an application rate of 2.9 times. 

Gafoor particularly highlighted demand for the 4-room flats in Queenstown (Tanglin Halt Courtyard), calling it “overwhelming.”

“The 175 flats available pulled in 1,078 applications, with the first-timer application rate at 3.2 times, and 67.8 times among second-timer families,” Gafoor said.

The 634 3-room and larger flats for sale in the Bedok North Springs and Bedok South Bloom also attracted over 2,000 applications. Lee said that this may be due to its close proximity to the Bedok Reservoir MRT station and the Bedok Integrated Transport Hub.

The Tanjong Tree Residences @ Hougang was another popular BTO with more than 4 applicants vying for the 122 4-room flats.
In contrast, Rail Garden @ CCK has the lowest application rate compared to the other BTOs this round. This may be due to the absence of 5-room flats and its proximity to the expressway and Gali Batu Depot / Bus Terminal, according to Lee.

For applicants who are unsuccessful this time, the next BTO exercise will be in June, where nearly 7,000 flats across six towns and seven projects will be offered. Of this, 3,000 units are 4-room flats, and 1,000 units are 5-room flats– some of which are in locations such as Holland Village and Tanjong Rhu area, Gafoor said.

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