Singapore

Buyers can book HDB flats the next day

From next Tuesday, home buyers will be able to book a Housing Board flat the day after they apply.

There are 123 flats on offer under the enhanced Re-Offer of Balance Flats exercise, which makes selected unsold flats from previous sales exercises available for booking at any time.

These unsold Build-to-Order flats were previously only available during semi-annual sales exercises.

Of the 123 flats, 105 are in mature towns such as Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah and Toa Payoh, and 18 are in non-mature estates such as Bukit Batok and Jurong West, the HDB said yesterday.

However, some of the flats have ethnic restrictions: Chinese are eligible to apply for only 26 of the flats, while Malays can book 115 and Indians and other races, 119.

Size may also be an issue. Almost half of the flats - 57 of them - are three-roomers, while 17 are 3Gen flats which require parents to live with their married children under one roof.

The flat of choice for most first-time home buyers is a four-roomer, of which there are 23. There are also three two-room flexi flats, and three executive flats.

First announced in February, the expanded scheme is part of the HDB's efforts to make flats more accessible to potential home owners.

The new scheme means would-be buyers can view the online listing of these flats any time, submit an online application and select a unit as early as the next working day.

ROF

Previously, unsold Build-to-Order flats would be available only during a Sale of Balance Flats or Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise.

Aspiring homeowners would also have had to wait till applications close before finding out if they are successful.

Details of the ROF flats available for open booking are on the HDB's website.

A fresh supply of ROF flats will be made available for open booking twice a year, in February and in August.

HDB will suspend online applications for about two weeks prior to each injection of new flats, so that they can add the flats to the online listing.

Property