About 15,000 new flats of BTO (Build-to-Order) will be launched in 2019, fewer than 15,800 flats launched this year, the Housing and Development Board (HDB announced in a press release on Friday (7 December).

HDB stated that the 2019 BTO flat supply includes about 2,000 flats with shorter waiting time in the new Tengah town. Home buyers can expect to obtain the keys to these flats in about 2 to 3 years from the point of application, instead of the usual 3 to 4 years for most other BTO projects.

It added that the first batch of BTO flats with shorter waiting time was offered in Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun in November this year. Some 3,300 applications were received for the 1,100 flats offered, which translates to an overall application rate of 3 times.

HDB also said that a wide selection of flats will be offered across mature and non-mature estates, including Sengkang, Jurong West and Kallang Whampoa, to meet the diverse housing needs of Singaporeans.

According to the board, in the last two years, the first-timer application rates for 3-room and larger BTO flats in all estates have remained stable at about 2 times. Most first-timer families who apply for a BTO flat in non-mature estates have been able to book a flat within their first or second try, and definitely on their third try.

"The continued supply of flats coming on stream will provide affordable and accessible housing options for young couples planning to start their marriage and parenthood journey, as well as for second-timer families, multi-generation families, elderly and singles," it added.

The board also said that eligible first-timer families buying new flats can enjoy up to $80,000 of housing grants, comprising the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) of up to $40,000 and the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) of up to $40,000. In addition, HDB has also taken steps to enhance grants for resale flats, such as the enhancement to the CPF Housing Grant last year and the Proximity Housing Grant this year.

First-time home buyers who purchase a resale flat can enjoy up to $120,000 in housing grants, a 50 per cent increase compared to three years ago, it added.

HDB also mentioned the easier and faster process of the buying and selling of HDB resale flats with the new HDB Resale Portal launched early this year, saying that the portal has since provided much convenience to resale flat buyers and sellers, with the resale transaction time significantly shortened from 16 weeks to 8 weeks, if they submit the necessary documents promptly.

It added that the board will continue to monitor the housing needs of Singaporeans closely and calibrate our flat supply carefully to provide affordable and quality housing to all.

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