3 BTO exercises in 2024, one fewer than usual

SINGAPORE: For the first time since 2015, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will hold three instead of four Build-to-Order (BTO) sales exercises in a year.

A total of 19,600 new public housing flats will be launched in three batches in 2024 – February, June and October.

“With three BTO launches instead of four, home buyers can look forward to a bigger housing supply at each launch. This will enable them to select from a wider range of flats and locations,” said HDB on Monday (Jan 8).

In 2023, HDB launched 22,800 BTO flats across four sales exercises, an average of 5,700 flats per exercise. This year’s average – across three exercises – is set to be higher at 6,533.

Applicants at every BTO launch “will now be able to enjoy a higher chance of success in finding a flat that meets their budget and needs”, said HDB. “In addition, this will reduce the extent of overlap between the selection exercises and provide greater certainty for home buyers.”

Buyers currently apply for a flat via BTO sales exercises, Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises and open booking of flats, according to their needs and preferences. The vast majority of flat buyers purchase flats under BTO exercises.

About 4,100 BTO flats will be offered in the February 2024 BTO exercise. These flats will be in Bedok, Queenstown, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Punggol and Woodlands. Around 1,500 SBF units will also be available in February.

The reduction in the number of BTO launches this year comes as application rates for first-timer buyers for all flat types continue to moderate.

In 2023, the median number of applicants for each available unit was 1.9, a big drop from the 3.7 in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“On the whole, BTO application rates for 2023 was lower than recent years,” said HDB.

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