Calling all aspiring homeowners! Keen to get your hands on a new HDB flat as soon as possible? You’re in luck. Now you can do so with the updated Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) scheme. Conducted twice yearly in February and August, the ROF sales exercise typically pools all unsold flats after the similarly biannual Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise.
First announced in February 2019, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong explained on his blog that this updated scheme will not only allow home buyers the choice to apply for unselected flats from the open ROF pool at any time of the year, but also find out if the application is successful in just one day. Sounds promising? Now let us delve deeper into this enhanced scheme and see if/how you can potentially benefit from it!
How is the updated Re-offer Of Balance Flats scheme different now?
As part of HDB’s ongoing efforts to make flats more accessible to potential homeowners, the enhanced scheme will allow home buyers to secure an HDB as soon as the next day after they apply for one, thus the ability to move in earlier. While flats in the ROF pool were previously made available only during semi-annual sales exercises, all 123 selected, unsold flats from previous sales exercises that will be offered under the updated ROF exercise will now be available for booking at any time of the year.
Before submitting the application, interested homebuyers can find out more about the 123 ROF flats available on the HDB InfoWEB, where the selection and booking of a flat will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Would-be buyers will also be assessed for eligibility during the flat selection appointment, before booking a flat.
“In other words, flat buyers can apply online anytime on a first-come, first-served basis, and book a flat by the next working day. This will effectively reduce their waiting time to book a flat to just one day,” Wong said. According to the Straits Times, currently applicants have to wait for a week till applications close before even confirming their eligibility to book a unit.
But Ethnic Restrictions And Other Trade-Offs Still Apply
Despite the enhanced benefits, you should still expect to face restrictions. For instance, out of the 123 flats, 105 or 85% are located in mature towns including Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio, while 18 are in non-mature estates like Jurong West and Bukit Batok. Ethnic restrictions have also been enforced on some of the flats, i.e. 26 out of the 123 flats are only available to Chinese, while the majority goes to Malays as well as Indians and other races. This drastically reduces the choices a Chinese applicant would face. Additionally, expect to make other trade-offs at this new sales exercise, including the lack of larger and higher-floor units, with popular units likely to have been snatched up in the earlier sales exercises.
With the ability to gain access to unsold flats in a common pool, the new ROF scheme will suit aspiring buyers who either have more urgent housing needs, or are flexible about the location and other flat attributes.
Prefer to engage a top-notch agent to assist you in your home buying journey? Call 6886 9009 to learn more now!
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