Monday, March 5, 2012

Help for HDB 'second-timers' to buy flats

Straits Times: Sat, Mar 03
AFTER easing the demand crunch among first-time Housing Board (HDB) flat applicants, the Government will now help 'second-timers' - a group that includes a large proportion of HDB upgraders.

It will change the rules to significantly boost their chances of successfully balloting for a new Build-to-Order (BTO) flat or executive condominium (EC) unit.

Announcing this in Parliament yesterday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that starting this month, BTO launches in non-mature estates will see 15 per cent of flats allocated to second-timers, triple the current quota of 5 per cent. This should help lower the number of applicants who apply for each BTO flat put up for sale. At present, more than 25 of them typically apply for each available flat. Mr Khaw said he hoped the latest move would bring this down to a 'single digit'. He also hoped to keep the first-timer application rate to below two applicants for each flat on offer.

The allocation for BTO flats in mature estates, however, will remain unchanged, at 5 per cent for second-timers.

HDB upgraders who want to buy EC units will also receive a leg-up. The quota for second-timers will be upped six times from 5 to 30 per cent with immediate effect. The change will mean that second-timers will have a much greater chance of buying an EC unit for the first month after launch.

One recent EC project - the 728-unit Twin Waterfalls in Punggol - saw 570 applications for just 36 units that were allocated for them. This translated to a one in 16 chance of buying a flat. Under the new rules, that ratio is now less than one in three...

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Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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