The No B.S. Guide on How to Increase Your HDB BTO Ballot Chances
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The No B.S. Guide on How to Increase Your HDB BTO Ballot Chances

profileKenneth Fong
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Been applying for HDB BTO flats but can’t seem to get any?

SpongeBob This Harder Than I Thought
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

I feel you, bruv.

Even with the HDB BTO Launch in August 2020, which had a bumper total of 7,862 new units available.

Everything was oversubscribed.

Application Rate for HDB BTO August 2020

3-Room Flat4-Room Flat5-Room Flat
Non-Mature Estates
Keat Hong Verge
(Choa Chu Kang)
2.22.4-
Parc Residences @ Tengah
(Tengah)
3.75.17.0
Champions Bliss
(Woodlands South)
-5.8-
UrbanVille
(Woodlands)
6.25.89.8
Mature Estates
Kebun Baru Edge
(Ang Mo Kio)
-10.721.5
Bishan Towers
(Bishan)
4.06.2-
Dakota One
(Geylang)
9.019.1-
Costa Grove
(Pasir Ris)
2.74.77.3
Tampines GreenCrest
(Tampines)
2.72.12.0
Tampines GreenGlade
(Tampines)
-2.12.0
Tampines GreenOpal
(Tampines)
2.72.12.0

I mean, just look at the application rate for a 5-Room HDB Flat in Kebun Baru Edge (Ang Mo Kio).

Damn siao, please.

So how?

Is there a way to increase your chances of a successful HDB BTO ballot?


TL;DR: How To Improve My HDB BTO Ballot Chances

I could just list the various HDB Priority Schemes and present them as various ‘hacks’ which you can use to improve your BTO ballot chance.

But I’m gonna keep it real here.

Wherever possible, I’m gonna highlight some important considerations with regard to the various priority schemes.

So that you can make a proper and informed decision:

Ways to improve BTO ballot

Priority SchemeHDB BTO Flat AllocationThings to Note
Apply for a non-mature estate as a First-Timer ApplicantFirst-timer Applicant with NO other priority schemes10%
(2-Room Flexi and 3-Room)

25%
(4-Room and bigger)
Some non-mature estates (and flat types eg. 5-Room) can be pretty popular too
Have kidsParenthood Priority Scheme
(PPS)
30%Not a reason to have children especially if you are not financially or emotionally ready for the commitment
Apply for the same BTO and be neighbours with your parentsMulti-Generation Priority Scheme
(MGPS)
Parents
Up to 15% of 2-Room Flexi or 3-Room flats

Married child
Corresponding number of 2-Room Flexi or larger flats
Can only choose from preselected units which are spread across different blocks, and on both high and low floors

Shared queue number so everything must be done together (eg. signing of option, lease agreement and etc.)
Live near (or with) your parentsMarried Child Priority Scheme
(MCPS)
30%Your parents can't move for the time it takes for your BTO to be built + 5 years (until you reach MOP)
Have more than 2 childrenThird Child Priority Scheme
(TCPS)
5%You must have at least 3 children to qualify and they all must continue living with you in the new flat (until you reach MOP)
For divorced or widowed persons with childrenAssistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/ Widowed Parents)
(ASSIST)
5%
(2-Room Flexi and 3-Room in non-mature estates)
Only applicable if your child is 18 years and below
For tenants of HDB rental flats wanting to purchase their own homeTenants’ Priority Scheme
(TPS)
10%
(2-Room Flexi and 3-Room)
Only applicable if you and your family have lived in an HDB public rental flat for at least 2 years

If you choose a 4-Room flat or bigger, this scheme will not be applicable
For elderly Senior Priority Scheme
(SPS)
40%
(2-Room Flexi)
Your parents or married child must continue to live within 4km (until you reach MOP)

Basically, if you’re an average, young, Singaporean couple or family looking to improve your BTO ballot chances.

The first 5 options are your best bet.

BUT before you decide to have children (or more children) or want to involve your parents in your application.

Take a minute to review your financial situation and consider the future implications of your decisions.

Remember!

These schemes only improve your HDB BTO ballot chance.

They won’t magically guarantee you a flat…


How Does the HDB BTO Application Ballot Work?

HDB manages HDB BTO applications through a computerised balloting system which randomly assigns you with a queue number.

You are then invited to book (or select) a flat based on the order of the queue number.

The smaller your queue number, the earlier you’re called up to book a flat.

And the earlier you can book a flat, it means the greater the selection of HDB units to choose from.

Oh, btw, getting your queue number is only half the battle won…

If Your Queue Number is Within the Flat Supply of the BTO You Want

As long as the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) racial quota has not been met.

You have a chance of securing a flat.

If Your Queue Number Exceeds the Flat Supply of the BTO You Want

You need to pray that enough people drop out and decide not to book a flat.

Maybe they’re picky and can’t get the high floor or unit they want when it gets to their turn to pick.

Or they changed their minds and would rather go for an HDB Resale flat instead.

Either way, the EIP racial quota will still apply.

So… How Do I Increase My HDB BTO Ballot Chances?

Since queue numbers are assigned randomly, there’s no way to get a better queue number.

However, HDB accords priority to first-timers as well as applicants under certain priority schemes by giving them more ballot chances.

For example, first-timer applicants are given 2 ballot chances instead of 1.

But if there’s an overwhelming demand for flats, even HDB cannot guarantee that you’ll be successful.

If you’re suay and are unsuccessful for 2 or more BTO applications (as a first-timer) in non-mature estates.

You’ll get 1 additional chance for every subsequent BTO application in non-mature estates.

If you’re successful in the ballot and are invited to book a flat, don’t just reject it immediately if you see that your ‘ideal’ unit is taken.

For first-timers, rejecting 2 chances to book a flat means your first-timer priority will be suspended for 1 year.

FYI: you can still apply for an HDB BTO flat during that 1 year, you just don’t have your first-timer priority.

But if you reject another 2 more chances to select a flat within that year, your suspension will be extended for another year.


How To Improve My HDB BTO Ballot Chances

If you’re an average, young, Singaporean couple or family looking to improve your BTO ballot chances.

The following options I’m about to talk about are your best bet.

BUT before you decide to have children (or more children) or want to involve your parents in your application.

Take a minute to review your financial situation and consider the future implications of your decisions.

Remember!

These schemes only improve your HDB BTO ballot chance.

They won’t magically guarantee you a flat…

1) Apply For a Non-Mature Estate

At the risk of sounding obvious, applying for a non-mature estate (read: not as popular) as compared to a mature estate should improve your HDB BTO ballot chance.

However, it also depends on which non-mature estate are you applying to.

And the flat type that is being offered.

If you look at the application rate for 5-Room flats during the HDB BTO Launch in August 2020.

You’ll have a higher chance of getting one in Tampines (mature estate) as compared to in Tengah or Woodlands (non-mature estates).

See? Not so straightforward, huh?

2) Have Kids — Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS)

If you’re expecting or already have a child, your application is prioritised because you obviously need the home more urgently.

That aside…

If you’re recently engaged or just married and haven’t decided what you would like to do in life as a couple…

The PPS is NOT a good reason to decide to have children just to improve your BTO ballot chances.

In fact, we’ve worked it out before that you’ll need something to the tune of $11,400 before having your first child!

comfortable monthly combined income before deciding to have a first child

So unless you’re financially and emotionally ready for the commitment.

Consider other options!

3) Apply For The Same BTO and Be Neighbours with Your Parents — Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS)

If your parents are also looking to BTO, then you can both apply to the same BTO project under the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS) to increase your ballot chances.

What this means is that you’ll have to make a joint application for 2 separate flats.

This is also where it gets a little complicated.

Under the MGPS, your parents can only apply for a 2-Room Flexi or a 3-Room HDB BTO flat.

Which means that the BTO project which both you and your parents decide on, must have these unit types.

(read: if your mom wants to live in Ang Mo Kio and your wife wants to live in Tampines… then you siao liao.)

On top of that, MGPS applicants can only choose from preselected units which might be spread across different blocks.

And are probably on both high as well as low floors.

This means that your choice of units will be further limited.

So if you die die wanna live on a high floor and there are only units on a lower level available, you’re just gonna have to suck it up or give up the application.

The fact that this is a joint application also means that you and your parents share a queue number.

So every step of the BTO process has to be done together (eg. signing of option, lease agreement and etc.).

In order to do that, you and your parents will need to coordinate closely and agree to be on the same schedule to make this work.

4) Live Near (Or With) Your Parents — Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS)

Under the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS), you can either choose to live within 4km of your parents OR live with your parents.

Besides considering whether you (and your partner) can co-exist with your parents.

Or whether your parents even wanna live with you in the first place.

There’s one key thing which you and your parents need to take note of.

Assuming you choose to live within 4km of your parents, they cannot relocate or change their address for the time it takes for your BTO to be built.

Plus the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period that you have to fulfil upon collecting the keys to your HDB BTO flat.

So… that’s anywhere between 8 to 10 years (depending on how fast your flat is built) before your parents can move.

The problem with this is that if your parents wish to downgrade their flat in order to fund their retirement…

Or they want to sell their flat and move to the Bahamas and enjoy their golden years.

They’re going to have to put that plan on hold for at least 8 to 10 years.

5) Have More Than 2 Children — Third Child Priority Scheme (TCPS)

Read that carefully.

You need to have “more than 2 children”, meaning you must have at least 3 children to qualify for the Third Child Priority Scheme (TCPS).

Also, your 3 children must continue living with you for the entire 5-year Minimum Occupation Period.

In addition, they must not:

  • submit any application or be included as occupiers in an application to buy a flat from HDB, the open market, a DBSS flat, or an EC unit
  • rent an HDB flat (including DBSS flat)

This is not really a problem if all of your kids are really young and rely on you for food, clothing, and shelter.

But if you have children who are ready to leave the nest, then this might be a problem.

Er… What If I Qualify For the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS) Too?

If you qualify for both the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS) and the Third Child Priority Scheme (TCPS).

Your application will be balloted under the TCPS first.

If you’re unsuccessful, then it’ll be balloted again under the PPS.


Additional HDB BTO Ballot Chances After Multiple Unsuccessful Attempts

If you’re damn suay and can’t seem to catch a break…

Don’t give up yet.

If you were unsuccessful for 2 or more applications for an HBB BTO flat in a non-mature estate.

You will get 1 additional chance per subsequent application for an HDB BTO flat in a non-mature estate.

This is what I mean:

Number of unsuccessful applications
(for BTO in non-mature estates)
Ballot chances accumulated as a first-timer applicant
(for BTO in non-mature estates)
0 to 12
23
34

Read that carefully, ya…

This is for non-mature estates only.

If you’re applying for super-hot estates like Bidadari, Bishan, Kallang, Geylang that kind…

You might wanna consider going the HDB Resale flat route instead.

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About Kenneth Fong
Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
You can contribute your thoughts like Kenneth Fong here.

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