With BTO applications 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 you are interested in. 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 keep track of the past BTO sales launches, especially for the locations and flat sizes that 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
In general, 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.
(Dec 2023 BTO application update 11 am)
We can use these updates to guide our decisions on which projects to apply for. Based on the numbers (i.e. second-timers already chalking up an application rate of 22.4 for 5-room flats in Woodlands; or PLH locations have relatively low application rates for first-timers), we can make more strategic BTO applications.
Another hack for first-timers to note is that every attempt after your second unsuccessful ballot gives you an additional ballot chance. Technically, it is possible to clock up additional ballot chances by balloting for oversubscribed projects in earlier launches. Just recognise that there are consequences if you win the ballot but choose not to pick a BTO.
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. 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. 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.
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 current numbers, first-timer applications for both locations are still relatively low. This may give applicants some hope to get 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 are planning to apply under 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.
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 proceed to apply for the exact BTO project and flat size that 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 Married Child Priority Scheme.
This article was originally published on 18 November 2020 and updated to reflect the latest details.
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