If you’re currently in the market for a brand new BTO flat and have been closely monitoring property news in the past few weeks, you may have already heard that applications for the May 2023 BTO exercise just ended as of 5 June. For those who are still kaypoh, read our May 2023 BTO guide for all the deets on the BTO projects that were on offer.
As with all BTO exercises, HDB gave us sneak previews into what we can expect for subsequent BTO launches, namely the August 2023 and November 2023 exercises. This helps potential homebuyers assess their current and future options, especially if they’re lucky enough to snag a flat.
While details are scant for now, let’s delve into all the available information and other important details you’ll need to know about the August 2023 BTO launch.
August 2023 BTO: Over 6,000 units on sale
Image credit: HDB
According to HDB, the August 2023 BTO exercise will see about 6,700 flats being launched across five estates: Choa Chu Kang, Tengah, Kallang/Whampoa, and Queenstown. The estate mix is quite similar to the Feb 2023 exercise, which featured Tengah, Kallang/Whampoa, and Queenstown. The only difference is that Jurong West for Choa Chu Kang are included this time around.
Tightening of rules for first timer applicants
The upcoming August 2023 BTO exercise will be the first time where a new set of rules concerning first-time applicants will kick in.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of National Development (MND) announced that, starting with the August 2023 BTO launch, first-timer applicants who are invited to select a flat but turn down the chance will be considered second-timers for a year.
Fortunately, those at the back of the flat selection queue won’t be too disadvantaged as the HDB will waive the penalty for non-selection if you’re left with 10 or less units to choose from.
Image credit: The Smart Local
Being a second-timer means a reduced chance of getting a flat in a subsequent BTO launch. While first-timers are allocated up to 95% of units in all newly-launched projects, second-timers only have 5% reserved for them. In addition, if you manage to get the option to select a flat but choose to reject it again, you’ll be barred from applying for a BTO flat for a year.
This isn’t great news if you’re left with unfavourable flat options, such as those on the second and third floors, or units facing the rubbish collection areas.
If these factors are important to you, you’re essentially caught between a rock and a hard place, having to decide between forgoing your first-timer privilege or settling for a less-than-ideal flat. The latter could potentially pose a few issues down the road, such as being able to find a buyer for your home.
Image credit: The Smart Local
Unfortunately, that is the name of the game, and such measures were introduced to filter out applicants who are just applying for fun. Ultimately, it’s all to prioritise those who have a genuine need for a home.
Possible lower application rates for August 2023 BTO exercise
This new set of rules may result in a drop in application volume. After all, the penalty for non-selection is quite steep, and this weeds out the non-genuine buyers and forces people to be more thorough in doing their homework before submitting an application.
A drop in application volume isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing. You’ll have less competition, but you must also be prepared to be left with 20 low-floor units to choose from. Hence, we recommend having a plan on what aspects of the flat are you willing to compromise on before applying for a BTO during the August 2023 exercise.
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Cover image adapted from: HDB, The Smart Local