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Strategise Your BTO Application: Is It More Advantageous To Apply For Your HDB BTO Flat Later In The BTO Application Period?

Ballot strategically for your BTO

With BTO applications being a sensitive topic and public housing continuing to be in demand, applying can feel more competitive than primary school applications. Sought-after units in mature estates will usually see very high demand, and you should aim to apply strategically – with as much information as possible.

The first step is to be prepared with a clear idea of which BTO projects interest you. Our BTO location guides can help you. Once you know the projects that suit your preferences, the next step is strategising your BTO application.

During each BTO sales launch (and after), you can view the total number of applications received for each project during a launch. While HDB typically does not keep this information on its website for long, you can track past BTO sales launches, especially for the locations and flat sizes you are interested in.

Here are the situations where it is more advantageous to apply for your HDB BTO Flat later during the BTO application period.

Read Also: Step-By-Step Guide To Buying A HDB BTO Flat

You Can Strategise Your BTO Application By Knowing The Number Of Applications Received

Applying later allows you to be strategic about your BTO application. You can choose to apply for a less popular project or a less popular flat size to maximise your chances. Typically, during a BTO sales launch period, you can check the updated number of applications received at 8 am, 11 am, 2 pm and 5 pm daily. Thus, applying after 5 pm on the last day gives you the most information possible.

This is similar to how most car dealers only bid for COEs at the last hour.

This strategy is particularly vital if you are looking to secure a sale of a balance flat where unit supply tends to be much lower compared to a regular BTO launch. Here’s a look at the flat supply and applications received for the sale of balance flats exercise in February 2024.


Source: HDB

(Feb 2024 BTO application)

For example, if you are looking for a 4- or 5-room flat at a non-mature estate, Yishun will offer the best opportunity, given that the application rates for first-time families are 1.0 and 0.5, respectively. Other estates see much higher application rates, likely due to the fact that the other developments are almost completed or have shorter project completion dates.

Similarly, if you want a mature estate, Queenstown offers the best odds, given that the application rate for first-time families is only 0.6 for a 3-room flat and 2.1 for a 4-room flat.

These updates can guide our decisions on which projects to apply for. However, such information will only be available at a later stage of the BTO launch. If you apply too quickly, you risk choosing a location and flat type that might be too competitive.

Another hack for first-timers to note is that every attempt after your second unsuccessful ballot at a non-mature location gives you an additional ballot chance. Technically, it is possible to clock up additional ballot chances by balloting for oversubscribed projects in a non-mature estate in earlier launches. Just recognise that there are consequences if you win the ballot but choose not to pick a BTO.

Read Also: How You Can Use Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) and Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS) To Increase Your BTO Ballot Chances

Wait And See The Application Numbers If You Mind The Location And Not The Flat Size

Let’s say that you are very fixed on the BTO location, e.g. you are planning to live near your parents. There is still value in waiting to see the ballot numbers during the BTO application period if you can afford to be flexible about the flat type/ size you are applying for.

Typically, in a BTO launch, the 4-room BTO flats are the most popular. But this may not always be the case. If you have the finances and/ or the flexibility to live in a smaller or larger space, you may wish to consider balloting for a 3-room or 5-room flat instead. If you are fixated only on one location, waiting to see the ballot numbers may give you a clearer indication of which flat size to apply for that will give u the highest chances of success.

Looking at the table above as reference (note that this is subject to change everyday), second-timers applying in Bedok may want to choose a 4-room flat over both the larger 5-room flat and the smaller 3-room flat.

For example, in the February 2024 sales of balance exercise, Clementi offered units that had already been completed. If you  want to move in immediately, your odds as a first-time applicant increase significantly if you apply for a 3-room flat (application rate of 3.5) as compared to a 4-room flat (application rate of 23.7)

If There Is More Than One Location Or BTO Project That Interests You

While most people are hyperfocused on location, sometimes there may be more than one location in a BTO launch that you are interested in. For example, maybe both the Bukit Merah (Alexandra Peaks) and Queenstown (Ulu Pandan Vista) locations in the current December 2023 BTO sales launch are equally attractive to you. In such a case, you may want to apply later, after seeing the application numbers for each project.

Looking at the numbers, first-timer applications for both locations were relatively low. This may give applicants some hope of getting their choice flat. If we scrutinise the numbers, second-timers may choose to go for the Bukit Merah BTO for 4-room flats but the Queenstown BTO for 3-room flats.

Likewise, if you plan to apply under the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS), the flat type may be more important to you than the location. Looking at the applications for the 2-room flexi will be a good strategy to maximise your ballot chances.

Read Also: Here’s What Happens When You Give Up Your HDB BTO Queue Number

June 2024 BTO Launch

Since we are reaching the midpoint of the June 2024 launch, it’s worth looking at the current application received.

Here are a few thoughts based on the current application rates as of 21 June 2024:

While it’s expected that the Kallang development will be highly sought after, it’s surprising to see that the chances of securing a unit at Tampines are much lower than in Kallang. For first-time applicants, Tampines has already been oversubscribed more than four times.

Among non-mature estates, Yishun is currently the most popular. If you are considering the northern locations of Yishun or Woodlands, your chances of securing a flat are better in Woodlands across all flat sizes.

If you want to stay in Jurong, your odds are better if you apply for a 4-room rather than a 5-room flat. Conversely, in Woodlands, your chances are better if you apply for a 5-room rather than a 4-room flat.

No Need To Wait If You Are Tied To A Single Location And A Single Flat Size

If your BTO preferences are fixed, i.e. you only want one location and one flat size, and no other option will work for you, then there is no need to wait. Once the BTO application period is open, you should just apply for the exact BTO project and flat size you want.

There is no need to strategise your BTO application if you have no flexibility in your application options. Instead, you can consider increasing your BTO balloting chances by applying through one of the priority schemes, such as the Married Child Priority Scheme.

This article was originally published on 18 November 2020 and updated to reflect the latest details.

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