The following measures have been put into place to benefit first-time flat buyers:
a) Increase the 2011 flat supply by offering 14,000 new Build-to-Order (BTO) flats in the first half of 2011. This is comparable to the BTO supply for the whole of 2010. If demand sustains, HDB will offer up to 22,000 BTO flats for the entire 2011. This will be the largest annual supply of BTO flats in the last decade.
b) Starting from the Mar 2011 BTO exercise, HDB will halve the time taken to invite applicants to select their flats. HDB will inform applicants of their ballot results within 3 weeks of the launch. Selection of flats will start from the 4th week onwards, instead of the 9th week previously. The faster turnaround will enable applicants to know their queue number for the current launch, before deciding whether to apply for the next BTO launch.
c) Raise the monthly household income ceiling for purchase of 3-room standard flats in the non-mature estates from $3,000 to $5,000. The higher income ceiling will give low- to middle-income first-timer households more choices of affordable flats.
In addition, additional grants will be given to the lower-income families. For more details, you can refer to this HDB press release.
Hopefully, this additional “stimulus” will not be negated by a rise in the price of HDB flats. We shall see.