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Build-to-order flat supply to taper in 2017: Minister Wong

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 15:04

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SINGAPORE'S Housing & Development Board (HDB) will launch about 17,000 new flats for sale to Singaporeans in 2017, about 5.6 per cent fewer than the 18,000 build-to-order (BTO) flats launched in 2016.

SINGAPORE'S Housing & Development Board (HDB) will launch about 17,000 new flats for sale to Singaporeans in 2017, about 5.6 per cent fewer than the 18,000 build-to-order (BTO) flats launched in 2016.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in his blog post on Wednesday: "We are gradually tapering supply but still ensuring a healthy pipeline to meet demand. Once again, we will offer a good spread across the mature and non-mature estates. This will give buyers a range of choices, including young couples who wish to live near their parents, or the elderly who want to right-size and age in place."

The 18,000 flats in 2016 were spread evenly across the mature and non-mature estates.

Mr Wong said: "At the same time, we will continue to monitor the market, make adjustments to our building programme, and review our schemes to meet the housing needs of Singaporeans.

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"For example, over the past year, I've received feedback from young couples to make the waiting time for BTO flats shorter. So I've asked HDB to plan and prepare the land for several new sites which can subsequently be put out as BTO units with shorter waiting time. These units will not be ready next year, but I hope we can begin to offer them by 2018."

In the most recent November BTO launch, the application rate for first-timer families applying for three-room or bigger flats in non-mature estates has remained "stable and manageable" at 1.5 times, Mr Wong said. For the whole year, this number was at an average of two times.

"This means that BTO applicants will be able to get a flat within their first or second try, and most definitely by the third try," he added, once again encouraging young families to apply for BTO flats in non-mature estates to increase their chances of success.

This year, following the raising of the income ceiling from S$10,000 to S$12,000, about 2,200 more households were able to purchase a subsidised flat under the higher income ceiling.

Some 4,100 households also benefited from the enhanced Special CPF Housing Grant, and about 6,000 households benefited from the Proximity Housing Grant when they bought a flat in the resale market close to their parents or married children.

Applications for the Fresh Start Housing Scheme were also opened at the start of December. This will help second-timer families with young children living in public rental housing to own a home again.

"All of these demonstrate our commitment to keep home ownership within reach of all Singaporean families. But our work is not complete. We will press on with our mission to house a nation, and to help Singaporeans own a home that meets their budget and needs," Mr Wong said.

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