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HDB BTO October sales: Nearly 11,000 applications for 6,800 flats on offer

The overall BTO application rate was about 1.6.

HDB consruction site in Singapore, illustrating a story on Oct 2023 BTO sales exercise.
There were 10,935 applications made for the 6,800 HDB BTO flats on sale during the October 2023 sales exercise. (PHOTO: Getty) (RWP UK via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A total of 10,935 applications were made for the 6,800 flats for sale under the Housing and Development Board's (HDB) October 2023 Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercise which ended on Tuesday (10 October).

This represents an overall application rate of about 1.6 times of the available flat supply. The October BTO sales exercise, which launched last Wednesday (4 October), saw 6,800 new flats for sale across locations that included Choa Chu Kang, Tengah, Kallang-Whampoa and Queenstown.

Applications by first-timer families were highest for the 3Gen flats offered in the Rail Green I @ CCK and Rail Green II @ CCK projects with an application rate of 1.7, as well as the five-room flats offered in the Tengah Plantation Edge I and Plantation Edge II projects, with an application rate of 1.8 respectively.

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The larger flat types were also popular among second-timer families with an application rate of 29.7 for the 313 five-room flats available in the Tengah projects, and an application rate of 16.8 for the 544 five-room / 3Gen units available in the Choa Chu Kang projects.

Number of applications received for three-room and bigger flats as at 10 Oct 2023.
Number of applications received for three-room and bigger flats in the October 2023 BTO sales exercise. (IMAGE: Housing and Development Board) (Housing and Development Board)

Among the two-room flexi flats, the Tengah projects were most popular among first-timer singles with an application rate of 6.9 for the 263 units available for sale.

Number of applications received for two-room flexi flats
Number of applications received for two-room flexi flats in the October 2023 BTO sales exercise. (IMAGE: Housing and Development Board) (Housing and Development Board)

Underwhelming BTO application rates

Responding to the overall application rates as of 5pm on Tuesday, which was 1.4, PropNex chief executive officer Ismail Gafoor said that it was "underwhelming" compared to previous BTO application rates.

"The last time overall BTO application rates fell below two times was in November 2017 where the application rate came in at 1.7 times for the 4,829 flats launched then. Subscription rates for past BTO launches were relatively healthy over the last two years (February 2021 – May 2023), ranging from 2.5 to 8.1 times," said Gafoor.

Gafoor noted that this was the first BTO exercise where the stricter rules for non-selection began. The new rules will relegate applicants to second-timer status for a year after one non-selection count, meaning that first-timers will essentially not have priority status for a year and will be bumped down the queue in their BTO flat application. Second-timers who have one non-selection count will have to wait one year before they can apply for a flat again.

"With the implementation of this new policy, applicants would need to be more prudent with their applications. There may be applicants who do not wish to incur a non-selection count and they could have held back on applying for a new flat," said Gafoor.

"Looking at the application rates over the past recent BTO exercises (Nov, Feb, May), it seems like the demand for BTO flats has largely stabilised. Moving forward, we would expect overall application rates of BTO launches to range between two and three times – though the rates may fluctuate depending on the supply and location of flats launched," he added.

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