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Property News: 2-Room BTO Flats, a Hot Seller Amongst Singles Since 2013

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Since the rule changes in 2013, singles aged 35 and above can buy new flats as first-time applicants. Before this, singles could only buy resale flats. There have been 15,700 flats purchased by singles thus far.

More two-room build-to-order (BTO) flats will be offered in the non-mature towns of Choa Chu Kang, Tengah, and Woodlands during the upcoming BTO exercises in May and August this year. These flats cater to the needs not only of singles but also families and seniors. Seniors make up half of all new two-room flexi flat buyers, with the 40-year lease being most popular.

Building more flats for more singles

According to the HDB, the demand was high in the early years of the rule change; there were 37.6 applicants on average eyeing a single flat. Since then, that number has decreased to 2.4 in 2019. This is because since 2014, the flat supply for two-room Flexi BTO flats in non-mature estates has remained constant, at an average of about 4,000 units per year.

Ohmyhome’s Director for Real Estate and Destination Services Darren Teo said, “Although the big rush to buy new two-room BTO has tapered down since the floodgate was opened in 2013, demand for such flats will continue to be healthy. This is because of the intrinsic value of an investment for singles; they can easily pay off most of the cost of flat purchase after accumulating a healthy CPF balance with an average minimum of 15 working years.”

There is a need to build more flats because of the growing number of singles. From 2008 to 2018, there was an increase of about 15% in the number of singles – from 918,700 to 1,057,200. The HDB said it will continue studying this group to better meet their housing needs, so singles will be able to realise their dream of owning a home.

Affordable flat ownership among singles

“The purchase decision is further encouraged by the handful of grants available,” added Teo. Among HDB’s efforts to make flats affordable for singles, the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) was introduced last September. Eligible first-timer singles earning not more than $4,500 a month get a grant of up to $40,000. This is applicable for new or resale flats, with no restriction on flat type and location.

The monthly income ceiling was also raised, from $6,000 to $7,000 for eligible first-timer singles. They have the option to either buy a flat from the HDB or the open market with the CPF Housing Grant. Singles can also get an HDB housing loan for the purchase of a new or resale flat.

Upcoming BTO exercises

In May 2020, 3,700 flats in Choa Chu Kang, Pasir Ris, Tampines, and Tengah will be launched. While in August 2020, there will be 4,100 flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Geylang, Tampines, and Woodlands. For those who dread the long wait, you’ll be pleased to know that the upcoming BTO launch in Choa Chu Kang (May 2020) and Tampines (August 2020) will have a shorter waiting period.

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a step-by-step guide to buying a BTO.

Source: The Straits Times


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