What's Your Probability of Getting an HDB BTO Flat?

# What's Your Probability of Getting an HDB BTO Flat?

Xue Miao

I was just chatting with my friends over the weekend and as what any typical late 20-somethings would do, we were talking about big #adulting topics like career and housing.

One of them remarked how difficult it was to get a BTO flat in Singapore, having failed 3 times in a row.

“By the time I finally get my house and move in ah, already in my 40s liao!”

It is no secret how bidding for a new BTO flat can feel like a game of lottery.

And it’s almost like you’d empty all your good karma if you managed to get a good queue number for a popular BTO location.

We know that getting a BTO flat is difficult.

But have you ever wondered what’s the probability of getting a flat?

I came across this table done up by a redditor (@justastatistic) which provided a quick overview of the chances of getting a queue number for the last 10 BTO exercises.

That got me curious since I haven’t really seen such numbers tabulated before.

As such, I’ve decided to share this individual’s good work since many of us would be interested to know as well.

## TL;DR: Probability of Getting an HDB BTO Flat Queue Number

Here are the chances of getting a queue number based on the statistics provided by HDB for the last 10 BTO exercises, excluding the May 2021 launch.

In this article, we will be looking at numbers based on 4-room BTO flats.

BTO ExerciseNo. Of Units (Non-Mature Towns)No. Of ApplicantsProbability of Getting a Queue NumberProbability of Getting a Queue Number by This Round
August 20181,3873,1650.43820.4382
November 20181,1173,6960.30220.6079
February 20196473,0000.21570.6925
May 20196642,7330.24300.7673
September 20198721,9150.45540.8940
November 20191,0911,9370.56320.9446
February 20203853,0480.12630.9516
August 20201,2776,2440.20450.9615
November 20208082,4590.32860.9742
February 20217741,9090.40540.9846

Source: Reddit, numbers edited by me for clarity

For the sake of simplicity, we are disregarding any additional ballot chances for repeat unsuccessful applications.

We are also assuming that all applicants have equal ballot chances, without additional benefits from priority schemes such as the first-time applicant scheme or the parenthood priority scheme.

The ballot chance is also averaged by using the total sum of units and applicants, which means that we are not taking into consideration any specific BTO project.

From the table above, we can see that there’s a 98.46% chance you’ll get your queue number if you’ve been unsuccessful for the past nine rounds.

This means that if you’ve gotten to that stage, there’s only 1.6% chance of failing to secure a unit.

You’d have spent \$100 solely on application fees though…

And not every one of us would’ve had the stamina to stick to the BTO route till our tenth application.

Some might have hopped onto the resale train by then.

### Probability of Getting an HDB BTO Flat Queue Number in a Mature Estate

We’ve just seen the success rates for a BTO flat in a non-mature estate.

Since mature estates are the usual hot spots for each BTO exercise, I decided to do similar calculations for the probability of getting a queue number for a mature estate as well.

BTO ExerciseNo. Of Units (Mature Towns)No. Of ApplicantsProbability of Getting a Queue NumberProbability of Getting a Queue Number by This Round
November 20184922,3080.21320.2132
February 20196636,9760.09500.2879
May 20193184,9590.06410.3336
September 20193307660.43080.6207
November 20194537,0630.06410.6450
February 20201,21111,6840.10360.6818
August 20202,09013,4570.15530.7312
November 20202,49213,6740.18220.7802
February 20211,1837,5360.15690.8147
May 20211,0809,0690.11910.8368

As expected, the probability of getting an HDB BTO flat in a mature estate is lower given how popular these locations usually are.

If you’re someone who has been bidding for a flat in these zones for the past ten tries, there’s still a 16.3% chance that you wouldn’t get a queue number.

## How Does the HDB BTO Application Ballot Work?

HDB manages HDB BTO applications through a computerised balloting system that 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, 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.

## How To Increase Your Ballot Chances

Lucky for us, not all ballot chances are made equal.

We do have existing priority schemes that can increase our chances of getting a queue number.

## 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)

Also, if you have unsuccessful application attempts in non-mature estates, your total ballot chances will increase accordingly.

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

And if you still can’t seem to get a flat after multiple tries…

Perhaps it’s time to take the HDB Resale flat route instead.

A millennial who is learning to adult. She doesn't believe in the rat race and hopes to live on a farm someday.
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