Brace yourselves as there are new BTOs in town with some good news: Shorter waiting times. This may be the right time for those waiting to propose to your partner with a BTO application. But do bear in mind that there are some drawbacks. Naturally, some places will be in higher demand than others, so choose wisely. Then again, we can’t be too picky with our housing choices. Read on to see which BTO projects are hotter in the market and how to better increase your chances of securing a BTO. Image: Facebook (Housing Development Board) New BTOs in Town In a press release by the Housing Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (30 May), it was announced that 5,495 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats had been launched for sale across five projects in Bedok, Kallang-Whampoa, Serangoon and Tengah. The perks of this May 2023 BTO Exercise? 90 per cent of the flats in four out of five of the projects will have a waiting time of less than four years. The project with the shortest waiting time is Parc Meadow @ Tengah, which has a waiting period of between three years and one month to three years and four months, while the other projects, Plantation Verge in Tengah, Bedok South Blossoms, Serangoon North Vista and Farrer Park Arena have a waiting time of between three years and five months to four years. HDB also mentioned that the median waiting time for flats launched in May is three years and five months. 1,500 Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) is also being put up for sale. Best Projects to Live In The cheapest and least in-demand place to live is Tengah. Yes, it may be all the way out in the West, but if you’re looking for a steal, here it is. According to HDB, at least 95 per cent of the four-room and bigger flats in this non-mature town are allocated to first-timer families. There is a 90 per cent success rate of securing the flat for first-timer families who book their flat within two tries when they are given three. Applicants are also encouraged to look for projects with rates of about 1.7 or lower as these flats, which have a BTO rejection rate of 40 per cent, will allow applicants to have a good chance of selecting them. The prices of the newly launched BTO flats in Tengah are listed here: Image: Housing Development Board High Demand and Prime Area Projects Five-room flats in the mature towns of Serangoon and Bedok comprise 40 per cent of all the five-room flats offered in this month’s exercise. Lee Sze Teck, senior director for research of Huttons’ Asia, said that the demand for BTOs in Bedok is likely to be high given that a BTO project in Bedok estate was last launched in 2016 and the last project in Bedok South was established in 2006. Furthermore, the BTO is close to Tanah Merah MRT and Sceneca Residence, a mixed-use project that could attract residents to use its amenities. Serangoon North Vista is also likely to be high in demand, considering that five-room flats are rarely offered in mature towns, and the project is also near Serangoon Gardens and Chomp Chomp Food Centre. According to MS News, who joined the queue for this project yesterday (30 May), the Serangoon and Kallang-Whampoa projects are evidently in high demand. When the exercise to apply for the flats opened at 3 pm, applicants had to wait over an hour to go to the sales launch page and look at the projects. Nearly 90 minutes later, the waiting time shortened to 52 minutes—still a long wait. Here are the prices of the new BTO flats in Serangoon and Bedok: Image: Housing Development Board On top of that, there is a project in a prime area, Farrer Park Arena. It is the only project of the five that is under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model. 20 per cent of the PLH flats in Farrer Park Arena will be allocated to first-timer families and two per cent to second-timer families under the Married Child Priority Scheme. HDB said this is “two-thirds of the usual quotas.” These flats have a longer minimum occupation period of ten years before owners can put them up for sale in the open market. Owners will have to return six per cent of the resale price or valuation, whichever is higher, to HDB if they want to sell their flats due to the flats being sold to them with extra subsidies. Here are the prices of the flats in this prime location: Image: Housing Development Board Things to Take Note Of According to HDB, the prices of the new flats are smaller compared to transacted prices of comparable resale flats due to large market discounts. Eligible first-timer families can enjoy the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) of up to $80,000. The EHG allows applicants to pay as little as “$163,000 for a three-room flat and $290,000 for a four-room flat in the non-mature estate of Tengah.” Furthermore, they can “service their mortgage through CPF, with little to no cash outlay,” according to HDB. A new HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter was also introduced earlier this month, and applicants must undergo the Preliminary HFE check before applying for their flats. Buyers will be told about their eligibility for a new or resale flat purchase, Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants and HDB housing loan through the letter. Applicants may also use the HDB Flat Portal to apply for their flats. The application will be open from 30 May to 5 June, and you can only apply for one flat under either the BTO or SBF exercise. New Flats On the Way HDB is hell-bent on its goal of launching 100,000 flats between 2021 and 2025 and will launch new ones in other estates later this year. In August this year, 6,700 BTO flats will be launched in estates like Queenstown and Choa Chu Kang. Later in November, 6,300 flats will be launched in estates like Bukit Panjang, Bedok, Bishan and Bukit Merah.