Lawrence Wong: New option to get HDB flats even sooner

Housing & Development Board (HDB) will provide an option for flat buyers to book remaining flats from the Re-Offer of Balance Flat (ROF) pool at any time of the year, which will start around the middle of the year, with the first batch of about 120 flats.

In a blog post, Minister of Development Lawrence Wong shared that every year, about 20,000 Singaporean households buy a flat from HDB.

Many do so through the Build-To-Order (BTO) or the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises, he noted.

He recalled that in 2017, the Government introduced the ROF exercise, where all unsold HDB flats are offered in a common pool.

Under the ROF exercise, applicants need not indicate the flat type and location when they apply for a flat, and can book any available units according to their eligibility. This benefits homebuyers who may be less particular about location and other flat attributes, or who have more urgent housing needs.

Mr Wong said that ROF exercises have been popular, with about 2,500 households booking a flat since they were first launched. Nearly two-thirds of these households have already collected the keys to their flats.

Currently, the ROF is offered twice a year. He noted that HDB then conducted a study if there is a way to make the sale of such flats even more accessible to potential homebuyers.

With effect of the new arrangement, flat buyers can apply online anytime on a first-come, first-served basis, and book a flat by the next working day, which will effectively reduce their waiting time to book a flat to just one day.

“With the increased range of options available, I hope that it will be easier and more convenient for potential homebuyers to find a flat that meets their different needs, preferences, and budget,” he ended.

Even though this is a good news for home-hunters, many are skeptical towards the new arrangement.

Wallacen Tan wrote, “Huh, unsold new BTO since when?
I queue for 2 years and still in waiting list.”

Kwan Alice wrote, “Desperate to sell them off? Who would buy when Prices keep going up, adding/changing Stamp Duty fee whenever you feel like. Why don’t you limit those who can afford more to buy HDB when they already have a private property?”

Wot Da Fug wrote, “What bulls**t, I have applied for balanced flat 5 times, all kanna rejected.”

Vincent Teo wrote, “Long overdue. The process was never efficient in the first place. Ridiculous waiting time.”

Sazali Ahmad wrote, “ow then they implement such things. Used to apply 3 times and wait for their sales of balance flat then I got my flat.”

Jaydenannabelle Jaybelleminimode wrote, “I have been trying for 2 years yet didn’t get any, good luck every one!”

Dan Wee Loh wrote, “Soon there will be even more old HDB with less than 60 years lease left waiting for buyers if loan policy does not change.”

Yoong Yew Cheong wrote, “How come got so many unsold balance flat when every new flats they built is always over subscribed as reported?”

ZieMie Ahmad wrote, “How to purchase even if HLE is not being approve by HDB Credit?”

Some said that this is only happen because election is coming on the doorway.

Koh Hock Leong wrote, “When election is nearing, pattern more than badminton.”

Mani Maran wrote, “Trying to please voters before GE. Explain ownership or lessee 1st.”

Some mentioned the levy and asked it to be reviewed as well.

May Tan YL wrote, “I’ll buy if you don’t charge me the levy.”

Roshni Shan wrote, “Please write off the LEVY. Then all 2nd timer can take up the unsold and not taken flats.”