HDB to help young Singapore couples to get their homes sooner

This is to slash the waiting time for couples who are eyeing to snap up their first homes.

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A view of private residential apartments and public housing estates in Singapore Reuters

The Housing and Development Board of Singapore has employed two measures to help young couples in Singapore to get a hold on their dream homes the soonest possible time.

According to HDB's announcement, it will commence the construction of selected build-to-order projects ahead of their sales launch. This is to slash the waiting time for couples who are eyeing to snap up their first homes.

The tender for the construction of the first batch of flats will be called this month. The construction of 1,000 flats is expected to commence in the last quarter of the present year.

These flats will be spread across three projects in non-mature estates for Sembawang, Sengkang, and Yishun. These will be up for sale in the second half of 2018.

ERA Realty Network Key Executive Officer Eugene Lim said these flights are in slightly less popular locations.

"[This] could be why HDB is offering them with a shorter waiting time and a higher priority for first timers. This would make them more attractive to prospective homeowners who are not so particular and have more urgent housing needs," Lim noted in a statement.

The construction is expected to be completed between the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, around 2.5 years from the time home seekers apply for the purchase of the flats. This is in comparison to the typical waiting time of about three to four years for the standard BTO projects.

Meanwhile, HDB also announced the introduction of new sales mode for unsold balance flats from the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise. Named as the Re-Offer of Balance (ROF), the new scheme will collate all flats that remain unsold to help those with more urgent housing needs have quicker access to owning a flat.

The first ROF exercise will be held in August this year, together with the launch of BTO sales. At the onset, the scheme will offer 1,394 units of unsold balance flats from the Nov 2016 SBF exercise.

ROF will be held twice-yearly, during February and August.

"These 2 schemes, together with the enhanced grants for first timers buying resale flats announced earlier in March this year, is a concerted effort by HDB to ensure that first timers can choose from a wide range of choices for their first home," Lim said.