Lawrence Wong, National Development Minister, has said that approximately 17,000 BTO (Build-to-Order) flats will be introduced in 2018. Mature estates like Geylang and Tampines and non-mature towns like Punggol and Sengkang, as well as the upcoming town of Tengah, will witness a steady supply of new flats.
Mr. Wong said in a blog post today that the new apartments will help maintain a stable supply of housing to meet the demand. He said the government will continue to balance the flat supply in such a way that the HDB resale market remains stable and the demand is also catered to.
The Housing and Development Board had said earlier that out of 17,000 units, around 1,000 BTO flats will be available in Sengkang, Sembawang and Yishun in the latter half of next year, featuring a wait period of two and a half years instead of three or four years.
According to the Ministry of National Development, 17,584 BTO flats were made available in 2017. The numbers stood around 18,000 in 2016, 15,000 in 2015, and 25,000 between 2011 and 2013.
The Ministry had earlier said that the supply of land for private housing developments would also be kept stable for the first six months of 2018 even though there is strong demand from builders.
HDB announced that construction on the first batch of 1,000 flats will start at the end of this year. This initiative by the government will help young couples or first-time families to own a flat sooner. In February this year, there was a substantial increase in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant that allowed first-time buyers to purchase flats from the resale market. Over 6,900 families have benefitted from this grant.
First-time applicants will have access to 95% of the four-room or bigger flats from the current quota of 85%. The rest of the flats will be given to the second-time applicants.
The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme raised the rental subsidies given to couples waiting for their new HDB flats. This benefitted around 840 households. HDB launched Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise in August of this year for those with immediate housing needs. Thanks to this exercise, approximately 800 households have booked a flat.
ROF pools all unsold flats from the previous Sales of Balance Flats and makes them available again to applicants. This ROF exercise will happen twice every year, giving more chances to families to buy flats.