Buying a HDB flat: What are your chances of scoring a BTO? (2019)

Buying a HDB Flat - What are Your Chances of Getting a BTO Flat

BTO flats have a reputation for being immensely hard to get, because, well, they are.

Check out the application rate in the past 5 years:

bto flat singapore application rate

*The higher the number of applicants per unit, the lower your chances.

Dive deeper into the numbers, and you’ll also realise that some projects are way more well-received than others.

Take November 2018’s BTO exercise for instance:

2-room Flexi flats - HDB BTO application rate

3 to 5 room flats - HDB BTO application rate
Source: HDB

At one end of the spectrum, there were 668 applicants for 96 5-room flats in Sembawang, meaning less than 1 in 7 of them were successful in their BTO application.

But there are rare cases of flats being under-subscribed as well. In that same exercise, there were only 97 applicants for 252 4-room flats in Yishun, meaning all of the eligible applicants managed to secure their BTO flat – and the remaining flats were even left unsold.

HDB compiles a detailed record of the number of units and number of applicants for each individual BTO project here.

Tip: First-timer applicants and priority scheme applicants also have greater odds of being balloted for a BTO flat, so your chances vary accordingly!


May 2019 BTO Exercise

This May 2019, HDB will be releasing BTO launches in Tengah, Woodlands, and Kallang/Whampoa – a new town, a non-mature estate and a mature estate respectively.

hdb bto may 2019 singapore
Source: HDB

1. Tengah

A 5km-long forest corridor! Urban farming! 3 MRT stations! High-tech ventilation systems!

Tengah may be a new town – in fact, technically, it hasn’t even been built into existence yet – but it’s got a lot going for it.

Which is why its first BTO project in November 2018 (see table above), also the only one that has been launched so far, was popular amongst BTO hopefuls.

In the upcoming May 2019 launch, there’ll be a total of 2180 2-room Flexi, 3-room, 4-room and 5-room flats for selection.

Slightly more than the previous round, but expect demand to be equally competitive.

Resale alternatives

Tengah is bounded by Choa Chu Kang to the northeast, Jurong East and Jurong West to the south and Bukit Batok to the east.

When new towns are built, their surrounding neighborhoods are likely to benefit from all that they’ll have to offer.

Plus, prices of resale flats in these surrounding areas are comparable, or only slightly more expensive, to that of a BTO flat in Tengah – the November 2018 BTO exercise saw 2-room Flexi flats from $101,000, 3-room flats from $193,000, 4-room flats from $290,000 and 5-room flats from $397,000.

Browse resale HDB flats near Tengah

2. Woodlands

The last BTO launch in Woodlands, which happened in February 2018, proved not very popular.

Even with its low entry point – you could get a 2-room Flexi flat from $71,000, a 3-room flat from $140,000, a 4-room from $225,000 and a 5-room flat from $279,000.

Out of the 3 estates in this May’s BTO exercise, you’ll probably have the greatest chances of securing a BTO here. The affordable price tag, coupled with upcoming developments such as the North-South Corridor (NSC) expressway linking Woodlands to the city area, might just make it a worthy investment.

One thing to note: While Woodlands is a healthily developing estate, the location of the BTO flats within the estate – at least a 20 minutes’ walk to the nearest MRT – might not be the most ideal.

Which brings us to…

Resale alternatives

With resale HDB flats, you’re more able to find a home in an exact location that works for you, be it near the MRT or close to a particular school.

Browse resale HDB flats in Woodlands

3. Kallang/ Whampoa

In February 2019, HDB launched Kallang/Whampoa’s first BTO project since 2016.

There was a total of 855 units, with 3-room flats priced from $374,000, and 4-room flats from $523,000.

Even with the premium price tag that comes with a BTO launch in a mature estate – prices were easily twice that of similar-sized flats in non-mature estates – there were as many as 10 applicants per unit. 10!!!

Can’t say we’re surprised, though. Such is the allure of a mature estate.

Connectivity? Check. It’s got Boon Keng, Bendemeer and Farrer Park MRT Stations servicing the estate, and the city is just a few MRT stops away.

Family planning? Check. Schools nearby include Hong Wen School, Kong Hwa School and more.

Lifestyle and leisure? Check. It’s got Singapore Sports Hub, malls, famous hawker centres and even Kallang River in its vicinity.

Needless to say, the 580 2-room Flexi, 3-room and 4-room flats in Kallang/ Whampoa will be the buzz in the batch of BTO launches this May.

Resale alternatives

The good news? You can get a resale HDB flats in the area for the same price, or even cheaper. In Q1 2019, median prices for resale 3-room and 4-room HDB flats in Kallang/ Whampoa were $337,454 and $564,049 respectively.

Bear in mind, though, that these flats are most probably much older. Consider how the number of years left on the home’s lease might affect your home-buying decision.

For one, if the flat has less than 60 years of lease remaining, you’re only allowed to use a limited amount of CPF savings to pay for it, which would affect how you plan your finances.

This also affects the flat’s marketability, should you decide to sell it in the future.

Browse resale HDB flats in Kallang/ Whampoa

BTO and its alternatives

Both BTO and resale flats have their own pros and cons – check out our ultimate BTO vs resale guide if you’re still in a dilemma about whether to wait for a BTO or to buy a resale flat!


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