SINGAPORE – From next Tuesday (June 18), home buyers can book a Housing Board flat the day after they apply.
A total of 123 flats are on offer under the enhanced Re-Offer of Balance Flats exercise, which makes unsold flats from previous sales exercises available for booking at any time.
These unsold Build-to-Order flats were previously only available during semi-annual sales exercises.
Of the 123 flats, 105 are in mature towns such as Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah and Toa Payoh, and 18 are in non-mature estates including Bukit Batok and Jurong West.
However, some of the flats have ethnic restrictions: Chinese are eligible to apply for only 26 of the flats, while Malays can do so for 115 and Indians and other races, 119.
Size may also be an issue. Almost half of the flats – 57 of them – are three-roomers, while 17 are 3Gen flats which requires parents to live with their married children under one roof. (See also: CAN YOU USE YOUR CPF FUNDS TO PAY FOR YOUR PARENTS’ HDB AND YOUR NEW BTO?)
The flat of choice for most first-time home buyers is a four-roomer, of which there are 23. There are also three two-room flexi flats, and three executive flats.
First announced in February, the expanded scheme is part of the HDB’s efforts to make flats more accessible to potential home owners.
The new scheme means would-be buyers can view the online listing of these flats anytime, submit an online application and select a unit as early as the next working day.
It also means they are likely to be able to move into their flats earlier.
Before, unsold Build-to-Order flats would only be available during a Sale of Balance Flats or Re-Offer of Balance Flats exercise.
Aspiring home owners would also have had to wait till applications close before finding out if they are successful.
Details of the ROF flats available for open booking are on the HDB’s website.
A fresh supply of ROF flats will be made available for open booking twice a year, in February and August.
HDB will suspend online applications for about two weeks prior to each injection of new flats, so that buyers can consider if they want to opt for these new flats.
The agency will publish dates for the next injection and when online applications will resume.
Since the ROF’s launch in August 2017, about 3,000 families have booked a home under the exercise. Nearly two-thirds of these households have collected the keys to their flats.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.