Analysis: Overall muted demand for December BTO exercise (application rates, demand factors, & specific project appeals)

5 min read

In the latest BTO (Built-To-Order) exercise held on December 5, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) launched 6,057 new flats for sale across seven towns in Singapore. These towns include Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Bukit Panjang, Jurong West, and Woodlands. This initiative aimed to address the growing housing demand in various parts of the city-state.

In this article, we break down the December BTO exercise for an in-depth analysis of its projects performances. 

Application numbers

As of December 11, a total of 12,235 applications have streamed in for these newly offered flats, marking an application rate of 2.0 times. This figure slightly surpasses the application rate recorded in the October 2023 BTO exercise, which was at 1.6 times

However, these numbers are more restrained compared to previous launches between February 2021 and May 2023, which saw rates ranging from 2.5 to 8.1. The muted response to the December BTO exercise suggests a stabilisation in demand for new public housing.

Learn more about the projects offered during the recent exercise here: December 2023 HDB BTO launch overview: Woodlands, Queenstown, Bukit Merah, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Panjang, and Jurong West

Comparison with previous BTO exercises

In contrast to the elevated application rates seen in recent years, the December BTO exercise has shown a decrease in demand. Analysts attribute this decline to the implementation of stricter non-selection rules since the October launch

These rules aim to provide a more accurate representation of genuine BTO demand, sifting out applicants applying merely to test their luck.

Bishan Sin Ming Residences - December 2023 HDB BTO launch overview
Image credit: HDB

BTO projects in different locations

Let’s get into specific BTO projects across various locations:

Woodlands projects Woodlands Beacon and Urban Rise @ Woodlands

Five-room flats in Woodlands received a high application rate of 6.9 times, with 1,783 applications for the available 260 units. Overall, Woodlands projects garnered an application rate of 4.1 times for 1,247 flats. 

Bishan project Sin Ming Residences

The BTO project in Bishan achieved the second-highest application rate at 3.0 times for the 732 flats launched. Four-room flats in Sin Ming were particularly popular among first-timer families.

Read more: Why first-time homebuyers in Singapore are opting for bigger flats in the October BTO exercise

Bukit Merah and Queenstown (PLH Model) projects Alexandra Peaks and Ulu Pandan Vista

Projects following the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model in Bukit Merah and Queenstown obtained overall application rates of 1.3 times and 1.0 times, respectively. Alexandra Peaks in Bukit Merah saw a first-timer application rate below one for three- and four-room flats, as did Ulu Pandan Vista in Queenstown.

Read more: HDB BTO classification: Between Standard, Plus, & Prime flats

Bedok project Chai Chee Green

The Bedok project received an overall application rate of about 1.1 times for the 1,234 units offered. Notably, the first-time application rate for five-room flats at Chai Chee Green in Bedok was one, and rates were below one for three-room and four-room units. For community care apartments, the first-time application rate was below one for the 250 units.

Bukit Panjang and Jurong West projects – Petir Park Edge and Jurong Arcadia

Overall application rates stood at 1.9 times for Bukit Panjang and 1.2 times for Jurong West. Notably, projects in these areas had first-timer application rates below one.

Outlook and first-timer applicants

The subdued response to the December BTO exercise implies a favourable scenario for first-timer applicants. With application rates below one for certain flat types across several projects, first-timers stand a high chance of securing a BTO flat in this exercise.

Read more: BTO classification changes: Impact on first timers & singles

Factors affecting specific projects

Several factors influenced the appeal and application rates of specific projects in the December BTO exercise:

Location

Woodlands projects, owing to their proximity to the Woodlands MRT station and town centre, witnessed heightened demand. Additionally, the perception of these projects as equivalent to Plus flats under the new flat classification system in H2 2024 may have also driven current demand.

Waiting time

The BTO project in Bishan, with a waiting time of less than three years, seems to have attracted a high overall application rate. On the other hand, the PLH flats, including Alexandra Peaks in Bukit Merah and Ulu Pandan Vista in Queenstown, have a longer completion time of about four years and 11 months. This longer duration may have contributed to lower application rates for these projects.

Subsidy clawbacks and resale restrictions

Projects in Bukit Merah and Queenstown, operating under the PLH model, faced lower application rates. Unlike the Bishan project, these PLH projects are subject to subsidy clawbacks (now standing at 8%) and resale restrictions (10-year MOP). Analysts think these factors may have tempered their appeal.

Read more: HDB PLH: What you need to know about the Prime Location Public Housing Model

Did you participate in the December BTO exercise? Share your project of choice down below or on our Facebook page.


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About Sophiyanah David

Sophi, a seasoned copywriter specialising in Singaporean real estate and property, is one of the minds behind 99.co's informative articles. Like her colleagues at 99.co, Sophi is dedicated to keeping you informed about the ever-changing world of real estate so you can find your forever home. When off the clock, you can find her giggling and kicking her feet as she reads her romance novels, watching anime - if FMBA is not your fave, she might fight you (but you'll probably win) and looking up latest skincare trends.

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