Updated: Apr 6
Artist's impression of Ulu Pandang Glades
The application rates for the February 2023 Built-To-Order (BTO) exercise have decreased compared to previous exercises, according to recent reports. The BTO exercise is a scheme offered by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore, where eligible applicants can apply for new public housing flats at a subsidized rate.
The Housing and Development Board (HDB) stated that as of 5pm on 6 March, there were a total of 15,234 applications for the 4,428 flats offered in the latest exercise. This translates to an application rate of 3.44, meaning that there were 3.44 applicants for every available unit.
The application rate for this exercise is higher compared to the November 2022 BTO exercise, which had an application rate of 2.5. However, it is lower than that of February, May and August 2022 where application rates ranged from 5.8 to 7.8 times. The decrease in application rate can be attributed to the higher number of flats offered in the February 2023 exercise, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which may have impacted the decision-making of potential homebuyers. With many industries being affected by the pandemic, some may be hesitant to take on additional financial commitments such as a home purchase.
Additionally, there may be a shift in preferences towards resale flats or private properties, as some individuals may prefer the convenience and amenities that come with these options. With the recent increase in the supply of new private properties, some may opt for these properties instead of BTO flats.
Another possible reason for the lower application rates is the recent policy changes by the government. In 2022, the government announced tighter rules for buyers who do not book a BTO flat when invited, as well as higher priority for First-Timer (Parents & Married Couples), also known as FT(PMC), applicants. The new rules will be implemented from the August BTO exercise. This may have resulted in fewer applicants for the February 2023 exercise, as some may be waiting for future exercises with potentially more attractive locations or better flat designs.
Despite the lower application rates, it is important to note that the demand for public housing in Singapore remains high. In fact, the BTO exercise is still oversubscribed, albeit at a lower rate than before. This indicates that there are still many individuals and families who are looking to purchase a home, and that public housing remains a popular option.
In conclusion, the lower application rates for the February 2023 BTO exercise may be attributed to various factors, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a shift in preferences towards resale flats or private properties, and recent policy changes by the government. However, the demand for public housing in Singapore remains high, and the BTO exercise is still oversubscribed.