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

For the couples that were lucky enough to get a queue number, but perhaps not lucky enough to get a low queue number.

BTO projects are increasingly becoming more desirable for young couples and family. With the recent launch of Prime Location Housing Model (PLH) projects, even prime locations have become available with subsidised prices. However, the strict criteria for BTO housing may mean that there may be changes to your life circumstances that cause you to give up your HDB BTO queue number.

For couples that were lucky enough to get a queue number, here are 5 important things you need to check off your list before going to your hdb appointment.

Read Also: Complete Guide To HDB Housing Grants In Singapore For Different Types Of Flats

Why People Give Up Their BTO Queue Number

These people received a queue number but chose not to book a flat during their HDB appointment, or did not even make it to the HDB appointment.

Here are some reasons why people would give up their BTO queue number after successfully receiving a queue number during the BTO application exercise.

#1 Units left are not ideal: By the time it reaches your queue number, some couples could regard the units left as being less than ideal. It could be possible that there are only lower floors left to choose from, while the couple only wants high floors. Or for example, in the February 2019 BTO for Kallang/Whampoa, if all the units in Towner Crest (near Book Keng MRT) are taken and the couple does not want a unit in Kallang Breeze (near Kallang MRT).

#2 Unforeseen cashflow difficulties: One of the first cashflow considerations when it comes to applying for the BTO is the downpayment that needs to be paid when you sign the Agreement for Lease.

If a couple does not have sufficient funds in their CPF Ordinary Account, this 5% (if HDB loan is taken) or 10% (if bank loan is taken) in cash could be a significant sum to fork out. For example, 5% of a $500,000 BTO flat is $25,000 and 10% is a hefty $50,000. For young couples, this is an amount that requires proper planning prior to payment. This problem is more glaring when the couple has cashflow difficulties, for example, if the money is required urgently for other matters.

#3 Unfortunate breakup: When applying for the house, no one would have seen a breakup coming, especially when you have come this far into committing your future with one another. However, sometimes things happen and the relationship ends, resulting in a no-show at the HDB appointment.

#4 Realise that it’s too expensive: BTOs are often seen as the more affordable option for couples looking to buy a new HDB flat. However, some BTO launches have seen prices of flats in choice locations go significantly higher than $600,000.

#5 Change of Mind: Perhaps the need for housing has become more urgent and the couple decided to consider other options such as resale, Sale Of Balance Flats or Re-Offer Of Balance Flats instead.

Read Also: Sales Of Balance Flats vs Re-Offer Of Balance Flats: What’s The Difference?

With couples dropping out even before it comes to selecting their unit, this is also the reason why you still stand a chance if there are only 600 BTO units but your queue number is above 1,000.

What Happens If You Do Not Select A Flat?

You were given a queue number and invited to select a flat. However, you did not select a flat even though there were units available. This will be seen as you having rejected the chance to select a flat once.

Before the August 2023 BTO sales exercise

If it’s your first time rejecting: Additional chances that were accumulated from your previous unsuccessful applications will be reset to 0. For first-time applicants that do not succeed in 2 or more applications in non-mature estates, you get additional ballot chances (on top of the usual two chances) for your next application in a non-mature estate.

If it’s your second time rejecting: When you reject two chances to select a flat, your first-timer priority will be suspended for a year. Your subsequent flat applications will be placed under the second-timer category for a year. During this year, if you reject two more chances, the one-year period will be extended from the date of the last rejection.

This means that if it’s your first time rejecting, this means that your first-timer priority will not be affected until you reject the chance a second time.

From the August 2023 BTO sales onwards

First-timers will lose their first-timer privileges if they reject the chance to select a flat. This applies from the first-time rejection/ non-selection of flat. You will be deemed as second-timers for a year in the BTO ballot.

Second-timers will have to wait one year before they apply for a flat again if they reject the chance to select a flat. This applies from the first time rejection/ non-selection of flat.

Fortunately, HDB recognises that there may be instances of very limited choices when flat applicants are invited to book their flats. Thus, the non-selection count will be waived for applicants with 10 or fewer BTO flats to choose from or 5 or fewer SBF flats to choose from. Additionally, HDB may exercise flexibility when there are extenuating circumstances.

Read Also: 6 Decisions You Need To Make Before Buying A BTO Flat

What Happens Next?

You can always apply again.

There are always new project launches in the future and there might be new HDB launches that are even more ideal for you and your other half.

While we all have an ideal unit in mind when choosing a HDB flat, our choice is ultimately influenced by our queue number. Besides BTOs, there are other housing options for you to consider as well.

Read Also: BTO Vs Resale: Which Should You Choose?


This article was originally published on 8 April 2019 and updated. 

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